Arun Harinath grinds for struggling Surrey
Surrey 199 for 7 v Sussex
Allrounder Robin Martin-Jenkins continued his encouraging start to the season with four wickets as Sussex shaded an absorbing first day of their County Championship Division Two tussle with Surrey at Hove.
Two of them came in his first over and included the prize scalp of Mark Ramprakash, who has scored 10 of his 109 first-class hundreds against Sussex. He then picked up Gareth Batty before ending a painstaking innings from opener Arun Harinath who batted for seven minutes short of six hours for his 62 before departing three overs from the close, by which time Surrey had reached on 199 for 7.
Sussex skipper Mike Yardy put Surrey in hoping that a green-tinged wicket might assist his seamers and when the visitors were reduced to 15 for 3 in the 12th over it looked a good decision. Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, back at Hove for his third spell with the county, took just four overs to strike when Matt Spriegel edged behind after extra pace forced him onto the back foot.
Ramprakash has been a consistent thorn in Sussex's side over the years, particularly at Hove where his last two scores have been 266 not out and 123. But today he made just five before Martin-Jenkins trapped him half forward with his second delivery. He struck again three balls later when Usman Afzaal played horribly down the wrong line to lose his off stump for a duck.
That brought Rory Hamilton-Brown to the crease to face the county he had played with for two seasons with before returning to The Oval in the winter to become Surrey captain. He was reprieved by wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd on 11 standing up to Martin-Jenkins but helped the obdurate Harinath add 65 in 31 overs and was just starting to play some of his favourite offside shots when he drove expansively at Rana and edged low to slip.
Sussex were well in control when Steven Davies slapped Monty Panesar's 11th ball to midwicket in the next over to reduce Surrey to 81 for 5 but Harinath stood firm. He was dropped twice, on 17 and 47 and both times in the slips, on his way to a grinding half-century off 232 balls which he reached with the best shot of the day when he skipped down the pitch to loft Panesar over mid-on for his sixth boundary.
A stand of 55 in 31 overs for the sixth wicket with Batty steadied Surrey but Martin Jenkins returned to claim the former Worcestershire man who was squared up and caught behind. Harinath and Chris Schofield then put on 62 for the seventh wicket but Martin-Jenkins returned with the new ball to have the 23-year-old caught off a mistimed pull after he had faced 290 balls, Martin-Jenkins finishing the day with 4 for 43 from 18 overs.