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Burns' captaincy status grows as his hundred leads Surrey

Rory Burns celebrates a Surrey century Getty Images

Surrey 278 for 4 (Burns 137*, Foakes 72) vs Worcestershire
Scorecard

Rory Burns played a captain's innings of 137 not out as Surrey took the first day honours in their Specsavers County Championship match against Worcestershire at the Kia Oval.

Burns was joined by Ben Foakes, who scored a fluent 72 from 105 balls, in a fourth wicket stand of 125 as Surrey reached 278 for 4 against Division One's bottom side.

Kia Oval sustains Burns. He has averaged 79.9 across his 16 Championship innings here since August 2016, a feat which has passed under the radar partly because of the supreme form in 2017 of Kumar Sangakkara.

Promoted Worcestershire, who have begun the new campaign by losing all three of their previous games, bowled with spirit in the first session and a half after Surrey had chosen to bat on winning a toss.

Joe Leach's two-wicket burst immediately after lunch, in which he had both Scott Borthwick and Ryan Patel caught behind, initially pegged Surrey back to 99 for 3 - before Burns and Foakes carefully launched the counter-attack in impressive fashion.

At tea they had taken the total on to 176, with Burns on 84, and it was something of a surprise when Foakes fell in the 73rd over having just extra cover driven Ed Barnard regally for his 11th four. Barnard, to his credit, then produced a superb delivery which moved away from Foakes just enough to touch the edge of a defensive bat on its way into the gloves of wicketkeeper Ben Cox.

In the final hour and a half, however, Burns and Ollie Pope added a further 54, with Pope finishing unbeaten on 18, and by the close Burns had faced 294 balls, hitting 12 fours.

Earlier, Mark Stoneman's run out for 28 was the only blot on an otherwise profitable morning for Surrey as they reached 87 for 1 by lunch. England Test opener Stoneman featured in a hard-working first wicket stand of 50 with Burns, with both left-handers dealing well with a new ball that did nibble around enough to give Worcestershire's seam attack significant encouragement.

But then Stoneman pushed a ball from Josh Tongue into the covers, called for what was always going to be a risky single and was beaten by Barnard's excellent pick-up and direct hit on the bowler's stumps.

Both Borthwick and Patel got to 10 before the two left-handers were beaten by Worcestershire captain Leach's away movement from around the wicket and edged to Cox.

Fast bowlers Stuart Meaker and Conor McKerr were brought into Surrey's team, replacing Matt Dunn and Jade Dernbach, and Patel - who played in the draw at Lancashire last week - was pushed up the order to bat at No 4 in place of overseas batsman Dean Elgar, who is missing this match due to a prior commitment back home in South Africa.

For Worcestershire, the 20-year-old former England Under-19 all-rounder Ben Twohig was making a first-class debut and he bowled his slow left-arm spin with energy and decent control in several spells during a well-fought day in which Burns - and Foakes - proved to be the difference.