Rory Hamilton-Brown shines for Surrey
Surrey 415 for 6 v Worcestershire
Rory Hamilton-Brown kick-started his first season as Surrey captain by hitting a blistering hundred off only 96 balls and going on to make 125 to lead his side to an imposing 415 for 6 against Worcestershire.
Steve Davies, who left Worcestershire for Surrey at the end of last season, joined Hamilton-Brown in a fourth wicket partnership of 177 before completing a century of his own. And - to rub salt into Worcestershire wounds - Gareth Batty, who took the same route, helped Davies add another 77 for the sixth wicket in this County Championship Division Two match.
Surrey supporters were questioning the wisdom of making Hamilton-Brown captain at the age of 22 with only nine first-class matches behind him when they were heavily beaten by Derbyshire and Sussex in their first two championship matches. His own contributions with the bat were nine, eight, 36 and 11 and it did not look like getting any better when he won the toss on a good pitch and saw Stewart Walters, playing his first game of the season, edge the fourth ball of the day from Alan Richardson to first slip.
Arun Harinath and Mark Ramprakash promised better things by putting on 82 for the second wicket but Surrey were wobbling again at 82 for 3 when Ramprakash and Usman Afzaal perished in the same over from Imran Arif.
Ramprakash, who averages 92 on the school ground at Whitgift, seemed to be on his way to another big score when he fell leg before wicket for 40 and Afzaal slapped his fifth ball to gully.
It was a testing time for Hamilton-Brown and he needed a huge slice of luck to get through it. He had made only one when he edged his sixth ball from Richard Jones to second slip where Daryl Mitchell put down a straightforward chance. Hamilton-Brown made Worcestershire pay a heavy price for that.
He went boldly for his strokes as the visitors' bowling went to pieces, racing to 50 off 56 balls and needing only 40 more to reach his third first-class century and his first for Surrey. Three times he hit three fours in an over, once he struck four and he had 20 boundaries to his name when he drove a skimming catch to mid-off.
He had lost Harinath when he was caught behind down the legside off Jack Shantry for 45 but Davies played with great fluency from the start. He finished unbeaten on 119 off 167 balls with 15 fours and a six while Batty weighed in with two sixes and seven fours in his 47.