Lathwell falls short but revives Somerset innings
Mark Lathwell, with an innings that fell just one run short of what would have been his first century of the season and an invaluable innings of 73 by Peter Bowler, saw Somerset placed more comfortably on 260 for six at stumps after struggling on 74 for three.
Their partnership, that began shortly before lunch and ended 15 minutes after tea, added 140 for the fourth-wicket on a fine batting track with none of the six bowlers that Surrey used being a serious threat to either batsman.
Lathwell, who was, however, dropped on 20 and later on 64 from a difficult low chance offered to mid-on off Ian Salisbury, played his shots freely while Bowler was more cautious. They were, at one stage, neck and neck in their rate of scoring but soon Lathwell forged ahead and reached his half-century off 79 balls with two consecutive boundaries off Salisbury, the first at extra cover and the next to mid-wicket.
Bowler needed 133 balls for his 50 but, on 61, he had almost caught up with Lathwell who was 65 and Somerset had recovered to 199 for three at tea.
The three Somerset wickets that fell in the last session of the day all went to the left-arm spinner Rupesh Amin who ended with an impressive three for 39 from 24 overs. He had accounted for Bowler, bowling him around his legs and then dismissed Robert Turner in the same manner with the total on 254.
Five runs later, in the penultimate over of the day, Amin ended Lathwell's 224-ball innings, which contained nine boundaries, having him caught at slip as he attempted a cut. It had been an accurate spell of bowling by Amin in his second first-class match of the season. He had made up for his poor performance in the first when he conceded 124 runs without taking a wicket against Northamptonshire.
Earlier, in the first session of play, Somerset, having decided to bat first at the Oval, were shaping well with 46 without loss when Surrey removed both opening batsmen in a space of three balls.
Piran Holloway, who has been in fine form in the CricInfo championship with an aggregate of 436 runs which includes four half-centuries in four matches, opened his account with a square-cut for four and followed it with another boundary to backward square-leg in the same over. He then faced 26 balls before his next run.
Surrey's first bowling change produced a wicket, when in his first over, leg-spinner Salisbury had Holloway caught at first slip from a forward prod. In the next over, with the total still on 46, Martin Bicknell's outswinger, dismissed Jamie Cox for 26 which included five boundaries. Again, the catch was taken at first slip, this time by Mark Butcher.
After a ten-minute stoppage for rain, Somerset's third wicket fell on 74. Nadeem Shahid, at mid-on took a fine catch from a mistimed pull by Michael Burns on 20. It was Adam Hollioake's first over.