Mark Stoneman marked his Surrey Specsavers County Championship debut with a masterly 165 as his new county took control against Warwickshire at the Kia Oval.
The 29-year-old compiled a chanceless 17th First-Class century as he became the first Englishman to score a hundred on Championship debut for Surrey since Mark Ramprakash in 2001.
Rory Burns (71) and Kumar Sangakkara (47 not out) also made solid contributions which mocked Warwickshire captain Ian Bell’s decision to bowl first as Surrey closed day one on 327 for 3.
Stoneman was initially circumspect against the new ball but an off-driven four in the eighth over off Wright seemed to flick the switch and for the next five hours the left-hander didn’t offer a chance as he paid his first dividend following his winter move from Durham.
150 for Stoneman! 😳😳😳— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) April 7, 2017
What a start to the season from this lad!
The majority of his 24 boundaries were punched through the covers but he also attacked off-spinner Jeetan Patel, who had been brought into the attack in the 20th over, by cutting him off the back foot with superb timing and then lofting him back down the ground for six. Stoneman brought up his century by guiding Oliver Hannon-Dalby to the third man boundary midway through the afternoon session by which time Surrey were in command.
He was finally dismissed three overs after Warwickshire took the new ball when wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose snapped up the edge as he tried to drive on the up at Chris Wright, having faced 267 balls.
Stoneman launched Surrey’s season with a stand of 154 with Burns, 136 of which were made before lunch. Bell employed six bowlers in the first session but only Keith Barker and Patel offered him any sort of control. The Surrey pair both reached 50 in the same over, Burns getting there with a pulled six off Hannon-Dalby.
Warwickshire’s bowlers fought back with two wickets in the afternoon session, but any assistance in pitch which had a tinge of green at the start had burned off under a warm sun and it had become an exercise in containment for their bowlers.
Burns had looked good for a hundred of his own until Barker drew him forward and he edged behind after hitting 11 fours and a six then Stoneman added 76 in 22 overs with Surrey’s other winter recruit from Durham, Scott Borthwick, for the second wicket.
Borthwick followed a ball from Hannon-Dalby and was taken at slip after scoring 23 in 90 minutes but Sangakkara, who lodged 1,039 Championship runs last season in only 12 games, was soon in his stride with some eye-catching off-side strokes.
Stoneman’s dismissal ended a third-wicket partnership of 84 with the Sri Lankan, who was three short of his half-century at stumps with Dom Sibley unbeaten on seven.