Hampshire look like they're putting on a big target at The Oval, while there were plenty of wickets to fall between Yorkshire and Somerset.
SURREY v HAMPSHIRE
Contrasting centuries from Jimmy Adams and James Vince put Hampshire in command of their Specsavers County Championship Division One match against Surrey at the Kia Oval.
Opener Adams played the anchor role to perfection, scoring 144 of Hampshire’s opening day 361 for 4, while Vince’s 104 from 129 balls was the far more flamboyant affair which revitalised the innings after a tough first session against a seaming ball.
Adams and Vince added 161 in 35 overs for the third wicket after Surrey’s Curran brothers had each taken a wicket to reduce the visitors to 71 for 2 after they had won a toss. At lunch Hampshire had laboured to 78 for 2, and Adams had ground out an unbeaten 24 from 89 balls, but it was a different story in the next two sessions as Surrey’s attack wilted.
The 36-year-old Adams had hit two sixes and 19 fours, from 262 balls, when he was bowled from the first ball of the day’s final over by teenage off spinner Amar Virdi.
The dominant Adams said: "I'm pleased with where we are and James Vince made it look easy during our stand. He's very hard to bowl at when he's in like that. But I thought both George Bailey and Rilee Rossouw batted well too.
"I think we need to kick on again tomorrow. We need to put miles into their legs in the field and then hope there's a bit more in the pitch later in the game."
Virdi ends an excellent Adams innings and the day's play with a full delivery.— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) July 3, 2017
Get in, Amar! 👏 pic.twitter.com/liBOBgz1e7
Vince, who was a fixture in England’s Test team last summer, hit 19 fours in his 20th first-class ton and the only disappointment in what was a high-class knock came when he flashed at a widish ball from Tom Curran to be caught at the wicket – soon after almost doing the same against two similarly ill-judged shots from deliveries from the same bowler when he was on 98.
George Bailey, however, then came in to hit an assured 61 not out as he and left-hander Adams ensured it would be Hampshire’s day in a further fourth wicket stand of 129. In the day’s penultimate over former Australian batsman Bailey thumped Mark Footitt’s fast left arm high over extra cover for his ninth four to underline Hampshire’s dominance.
Both Adams and Bailey hit 18-year-old Virdi for straight sixes, and the teenager was only making his second first-class appearance because Surrey captain Gareth Batty had been forced to pull out of the match after tweaking a calf muscle in the warm-ups. Rory Burns stepped in to lead Surrey, who were also missing Kumar Sangakkara through injury.
The Sri Lankan master batsman split the webbing in a hand during Surrey’s Royal London One-Day Cup final defeat against Nottinghamshire at Lord’s on Saturday, and it was always going to be a difficult day for them following the bitter disappointment of losing a third successive 50-over cup final.
With more good fortune they would have had made further inroads into Hampshire’s top order in the morning session, but Adams’ initial strokelessness was more than vindicated by the way he and Vince transformed the innings in a partnership which took a lot of the fight out of Surrey’s bowlers.
The 26-year-old Vince was jettisoned by England after managing only 212 runs in seven Tests in 2016, at an average of 19 and with a top score of just 42, but his strokemaking ability has never been in question.
Vince reached his fifty in 71 balls, with ten fours, while Adams laboured for 138 balls to reach the same landmark. Towards the end of the second session, however, Adams opened up with a series of lovely offside strokes of his own as Surrey’s bowlers came under increasing pressure.
Some of Vince’s offside play – both driving through extra cover and forcing off the back foot – was truly memorable, while Adams, who was on 83 at tea, raced to three figures soon after the interval.
He drove Virdi for a six and two fours in the space of four balls to speed to 98 and, after a single off the same bowler later in that over, completed his 23rd first-class hundred with a two turned through mid wicket off Sam Curran. Later, Adams also pulled Tom Curran for six.
During Hampshire’s earlier struggles, Sam Curran bowled Lewis McManus for 13 with a full inswinger and Tom Curran removed Rilee Rossouw for 28 with the third ball of his second spell – the left-hander pushing forward with hard hands and edging to Scott Borthwick at second slip.
YORKSHIRE v SOMERSET
Somerset seamers Tim Groenewald and Craig Overton starred with bat and ball to drag their side back into things late on day one of their Specsavers County Championship match against Yorkshire at Scarborough.
Yorkshire were on top thanks to Liam Plunkett’s first four-wicket haul in almost two years of Championship cricket.
The winless visitors were 207 for nine and staring at another defeat having won the toss.
And while they are far from out of the woods just yet having been bowled out for 268, they are in much better health thanks to their tenth-wicket pair, who shared an innings-high 61 in 7.5 overs.
Groenewald hit 41 not out off 24 balls and Overton 35 off 43 before the pair shared all three wickets as Yorkshire closed on 42 for three from 18 overs.
Plunkett has been restricted to a diet of one-day cricket with Yorkshire and mostly England this summer. The ex-Durham quick missed the start of the season with a calf injury, meaning this is his first Championship appearance of 2017.
Ironically, Plunkett’s last four-for came against his former county here in August 2015. Today, he took advantage of a typical Scarborough pitch with plenty of pace to claim four for 73 from 21 overs.
He picked up two of four wickets to fall before lunch, one in the afternoon and the other with the first ball after tea.
The 32-year-old did an excellent job of leading an attack which lost Ryan Sidebottom to a muscle injury in his lower back midway through his fifth over.
Sidebottom left the field and is unlikely to bowl again in the match.
Adam Hose top-scored for Somerset with 62 off 128 balls.
Groenewald hit three sixes and two fours off Rashid in the 72nd over and hit four sixes in all off the England leg-spinner.
Overton, who hit one six, was bowled by Coad to wrap up the innings in the 76th over.
Had Bresnan managed to cling on at first slip when Overton was 22 and facing Plunkett, Somerset would have been 215 all out.
Aside from that, Bresnan had a pretty good day as he struck twice himself, including the first wicket to fall, and claimed two catches.
He had Marcus Trescothick (15) caught at first slip in the eleventh over, leaving the score at 20 for one.
Plunkett then had Tim Rouse caught at second slip by Bresnan at the end of the 16th - 25 for two - before bowling opener Ed Byrom in his next as the score slipped to 30 for three.
James Hildreth played nicely for 32, but there was little he could do with a Bresnan snorter that took off from just short of a length and caught the edge.
At that stage, Somerset were 67 for four in the 26th.
Plunkett had Steve Davies lbw for 16 before Ben Coad bowled Jim Allenby through the gate for 19 during the afternoon, leaving Somerset at 141 for six after 44 overs.
Hose reached his fifty off 98 balls with nine fours and played nicely on both sides of the wicket. But he fell to Rashid shortly before the tea break - 180 for seven in the 60th.
Plunkett struck with the first ball of the evening session when he bowled Somerset skipper Lewis Gregory around his legs for 21 with 200 on the board in the 65th.
200 for eight soon became 207 for nine as Rashid had fellow spinner Jack Leach caught at mid-wicket in the 68th over having chipped a full toss to Bresnan.
Overton then had Yorkshire openers Adam Lyth and Alex Lees caught at first and second slip before Groenewald had Peter Handscomb caught at second as the score slipped to 21 for three after eleven overs.
WARWICKSHIRE v MIDDLESEX
Rikki Clarke made a timely return to form with the bat as Warwickshire reached 302 for seven on the first day against Middlesex in the Specsavers County Championship match at Edgbaston.
Clarke was out in the final over of the day for a classy 83 (139 balls, nine fours, one six) having turned his team's position from a troublesome one into one from which they will aim for a total which can put the visitors under pressure.
Middlesex's depleted seam attack, missing Steve Finn (sore back) and Toby Roland-Jones (England duty), had bowled well as a unit to have the home side vulnerable at several points - 19 for two, 119 for four and 219 for six.
But on each occasion the killer thrusts eluded them as Warwickshire fought back, their resistance led first by Jonathan Trott (49, 103 balls, six fours) and 20-year-old Matt Lamb (51,125 balls, five fours) and then by Clarke.
After Middlesex took up the option to bowl, they swiftly removed both openers. William Porterfield edged Tim Murtagh to wicketkeeper John Simpson then Andy Umeed fell to a third-slip catch by Steve Eskinazi off James Harris.
Trott, captaining the side with Ian Bell ruled out by a sore elbow, added 67 in 17 overs with Sam Hain before the latter (35, 62 balls, five fours) edged Ryan Higgins behind.
Trott looked in excellent nick but departed in curious fashion when he tried to fetch a pull from the off-side but instead sent the simplest of return catches to Tom Helm.
The impressive Higgins soon trapped Tim Ambrose lbw but Lamb, in good form having made 99 for Barnt Green against West Bromwich Dartmouth in the Birmingham League last Saturday, knuckled down to reach his maiden championship half-century in 120 balls.
It was a composed and impressively patient knock with his team under pressure, but he didn't get much further. Middlesex skipper Dawid Malan turned to spinner Ollie Rayner who induced an edge to slip where Sam Robson took a fine catch, two-handed diving to his right.
That ended a stand of 78 in 23 overs between Lamb and Clarke and left Warwickshire 219 for six so further quick wickets would have given Middlesex control. But Keith Barker dug in alongside Clarke and the seventh-wicket pair saw off the old ball and scored crisply against to add 83 before Clarke fell lbw to Harris to the first ball of the final over of the day.
Lamb was pleased to spend some time at the crease: "After that debut game at Taunton I just wanted to prove to myself that I can do it at this level and bat some time.
"I think I was on three after 45 balls and am a shot-maker but I just thought if I could grind it out I could make it up at the back end when I got myself in," he said.