Surrey v Kent, LV= County Championship Div Two, Kia Oval, 2nd day July 14, 2015

Harinath, Curran junior respond after Billings 99

ECB/PA

Surrey 144 for 1 (Harinath 76) trail Kent 336 (Billings 99, Haggett 80, S Curran 5-101) by 192 runs
Scorecard

Sam Billings fell one short of a maiden Championship century © Getty Images

A richly entertaining day at the Kia Oval more than made up for the weather-hit opening. Sam Billings scored 99 for Kent while sharing in a record-breaking partnership of 151 with Calum Haggett while 17-year-old Sam Curran marked his first-class debut for Surrey with a five-wicket haul. And even that was not the end of it.

Despite having apparently surrendered the initiative when allowing Kent to recover from 154 for 6 to total 336, Surrey burst out of the blocks this evening to finish day two on 144 for the loss of Rory Burns, who edged Matt Coles to first slip for 31. Arun Harinath, having scampered to a 61-ball half-century, will resume on 76 while Kumar Sangakkara has contributed 34 so far.

There should be plenty more action to come, but it will do well to better today's fare which saw Billings and Curran vying for top spot on the roll of honour. England one-day batsman Billings, given an early life, missed out on a maiden first-class century for Kent by one run while left-arm paceman Curran - Surrey's second youngest Championship debutant - recovered from some heavy afternoon punishment to bag 5 for 101.

And not far behind these two was Haggett, who hit a career-best 80 and played a full part in what is now Kent's highest stand for the seventh wicket against Surrey.

Despite the fun to come, much of the morning session had been hard graft for Kent - not helped by the loss of both Darren Stevens for 9 and Ben Harmison, who made 17, inside the first 11 overs after the visitors had resumed on 132 for 4. Stevens was given out, caught behind down the leg side off the bowling of James Burke, before Harmison went lbw to Sam Curran when only half forward. That was 154 for 6 - and if Burke had held a comfortable looking catch when Billings, on 11, clipped Tom Curran to square leg, the visitors would have been in real bother at 158 for 7. Instead, the chance went down and, having fought their way through to lunch, Billings and Haggett prospered after the interval.

Billings, whose best score in 12 previous Championship innings this season was just 37, cover drove three consecutive boundaries during Sam Curran's first over of the afternoon to complete an 82-ball half-century that included 10 boundaries in all. The shift in momentum was obvious, and Billings underlined it by straight driving spinner Zafar Ansari for six. With Haggett also getting the taste for attack - pulling and cutting Sam Curran for boundaries - Kent were rattling along and the seventh-wicket pair completed a century stand from 28 overs when Billings swept Gareth Batty to the rope.

Haggett, who scored his maiden first-class fifty against Gloucestershire earlier this season, straight drove Ansari to post another half-century, leaving Surrey scratching their heads for an answer until the second new ball became available. Lo and behold, it did the trick for them.

Billings, having moved to 99, survived one lbw appeal when Sam Curran re-entered the attack. But the next delivery was again full in length and this time the shout was answered with a raised finger, leaving an understandably dejected batsman to drag himself from the crease. Billings - whose only first-class hundred to date was made for Loughborough University in 2011 - had faced 142 balls and struck 13 fours as well as that six off Ansari.

Tom Curran quickly defeated James Tredwell's attempted drive, then his younger brother took the last two wickets of the innings to finish with an unforgettable five-for. Matt Coles helped a delivery down the leg side before Haggett's invaluable knock of 80 was ended by a good low catch from Kumar Sangakkara at first slip. That was a big moment for Sam Curran - and there are surely more of them to come.

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