County Championship: Surrey on top at Middlesex in London derby

Surrey’s Jamie Smith grew into his innings after a slow start

LV= County Championship Division One, Lord’s (day one)
Surrey 312-5: Smith 120*, Burns 79; Helm 3-86
Middlesex: Yet to bat
Surrey (2 pts), Middlesex (1 pt)
Match scorecard

Jamie Smith registered his second century of the season to give County Championship leaders Surrey the edge on the opening day of their London derby against Middlesex at Lord’s.

The 23-year-old produced an accomplished knock to finish unbeaten on 120, while captain Rory Burns hit 79 as Surrey – seeking their first red-ball victory in north London since 1997 – posted 312-5 after being put in to bat.

Ethan Bamber somehow completed the day wicketless despite a relentlessly consistent effort as he sent down 22 overs that cost only 40, while fellow seamers Tom Helm and Ryan Higgins gained more tangible rewards, returning figures of 3-86 and 2-70 respectively.

With Middlesex resting captain Toby Roland-Jones, the reins were handed to former Surrey batter Mark Stoneman who succeeded in his first task by winning the toss and opting to bowl in overcast conditions.

Higgins, who opened with an eight-over stint, struck early by pinning Dom Sibley in front of his stumps and almost followed it up with the wicket of Tom Latham when he had yet to get off the mark.

The New Zealander’s sharp edge flew towards second slip, but the diving Sam Robson was unable to cling on and Latham took advantage as he and Burns settled down to construct a steady partnership of 94.

Bamber beat the bat on several occasions without success before making way for Helm, who offered up a couple of full deliveries that Burns gratefully dispatched to the short leg-side boundary.

The Surrey skipper went to lunch on 45 and duly advanced to his first half-century in 10 innings – since scoring 88 against Middlesex at the Oval in May – by clipping Higgins off his pads to the fence.

A change of ends for Helm paid dividends as he dismissed Latham for 38, tempting him into a top-edged hook that sailed into the hands of long leg.

Having taken some time to get off the mark, Smith gradually found his rhythm, clouting Tim Murtagh for successive cover boundaries as he began to dominate the third-wicket stand of 57.

Burns, having survived a slash through the slips off Higgins, advanced down the track in his next over and could only steer the ball to gully, where Holden sprang to his right to snap up the catch.

There was a close call just after tea for Smith, who was one short of a half-century when Ben Foakes sent him back attempting to steal a single, but he regained his focus to pass 50 for the fourth time this summer.

Foakes departed for 20, flicking Helm to square leg, and Will Jacks soon became the seamer’s third victim, caught behind after stepping away to leg and aiming an untidy cut at a short delivery.

Smith might have followed on 94, edging Murtagh towards gully – but this time the chance eluded Holden and the Surrey man advanced to three figures from 137 balls.

Jordan Clark kept Smith company until stumps, chopping Higgins to the point boundary to bring up his side’s second batting bonus point as he progressed to 34 not out.

Report supplied by ECB Reporters’ Network.

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