Wilson shines on seesaw day
Gary Wilson scored his second LV= County Championship century to help Surrey recover from the early loss of skipper Graeme Smith and reach 301 for seven on an opening day of cut and thrust with Sussex at the Kia Oval.
For the second home game in succession South Africa Test legend Smith fell cheaply, only for a Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman to march in and fill their boots.
Fellow glovemen Rory Burns and Steven Davies reached three figures in last week's clash with Somerset, while Wilson came good against Sussex after being promoted to bat at first drop just moments before the game started.
Wilson had expected to go in at seven, but an injury to Arun Harinath in the pre-match warm-ups led to his elevation and a call for Jason Roy to travel back from second-team duty in Derby as a late replacement.
After seeing Smith, on three, glove a brutal lifting delivery from James Anyon to the Sussex keeper Ben Brown, Wilson dug in to feature in a trio of significant partnerships.
The 27-year-old added 58 for the second wicket with Rory Burns, 118 with Vikram Solanki, who made 51, and 66 alongside Zander de Bruyn.
Burns edged a push-drive low to Brown on 32 shortly after lunch, giving Chris Jordan - the former Surrey paceman - a wicket on his return to SE11.
Then, at the beginning of the evening session, Solanki edged a leg-glance to the keeper off Anyon after adding only a single to his 84-ball half-century.
Following a watchful start, Wilson got into his stride with some graceful drives through cover and went on to face 246 balls in 279 minutes.
He brought up his hundred, from 207 deliveries, with a sublime stroke through extra-cover against off-spinner Chris Nash for the 12th of 15 fours.
He was only one short of equalling his career-best 125 when he shuffled half forward to fall lbw to Jordan's third delivery with the second new ball.
After chasing leather for much of the day, Sussex fought back gamely in the final session and made excellent use of overcast conditions and the fresh nut.
Wilson's departure was followed by Steve Magoffin picking up two wickets in an over.
Steven Davies found himself lbw, for six, to one that snagged back off the seam, while Roy - having just arrived from the East Midlands - registered a five-ball duck as Magoffin plucked out his off stump.
De Bruyn reached 31, but was lbw to Anyon 15 minutes from the close when moving back and across to an off-cutter.