|LV= County Championship Group Two, Kia Oval, London (day one):
|Somerset 280-6: Hildreth 107, Goldsworthy 48; Clark 3-55
|Surrey: Yet to bat
|Surrey 2 pts, Somerset 2 pts
James Hildreth hit his first century for two years to strengthen Somerset’s chances of sealing a place in Division One of the County Championship.
The 36-year-old stand-in captain scored 107, guiding his side to 280-6 against a spin-heavy Surrey attack at The Oval.
He shared a stand of 144 with Lewis Goldsworthy, who registered his highest first-class score of 48 while Steve Davies and Tom Lammonby both made 42.
Surrey struck back when Jordan Clark (3-55) removed both batsmen late on.
The home side enjoyed two successes in the morning session after Hildreth won the toss and chose to bat, with Devon Conway (21) the first to depart.
The New Zealand opener played on to Clark before Amar Virdi struck with only his second delivery, trapping Steven Davies lbw.
Tom Lammonby batted well to match Davies’ score – but he was bamboozled by Surrey debutant Ravichandran Ashwin, playing for turn and leaving a delivery that kept straight on to hit his off stump.
However, Hildreth found a reliable ally in 20-year-old Goldsworthy and the pair steered Somerset past 250, only to lose two quick wickets with the veteran stuck on 99.
Goldsworthy missed out on a maiden half-century when Clark returned to have him caught down the leg side before Rikki Clarke nipped one back to dismiss George Bartlett (2).
Hildreth – who had only previously passed 50 once this season – clipped Clark for two to bring up his hundred, but he lost his off stump soon afterwards, misjudging the line against the same bowler.
Surrey all-rounder Jordan Clark:
“We stuck at it really well on what is quite a slow pitch, keeping them to 280 in the day and picking up a few wickets near the end.
“Ideally it could have spun a bit more but it is still not the worst pitch to bowl on. The ball came out quite nicely for me. I am enjoying the chance to bowl with the new ball.
“It’s great to have Ravi Ashwin with us for this match. Our other spinners can certainly pick his brains. He’s obviously a world-class bowler.”
Somerset head coach Jason Kerr:
“It is obviously a used surface so there was a lot of anticipation around the toss but you still have to bat well first up and it was an outstanding innings from James Hildreth.
“Both he and several others assessed the conditions very quickly and batted in the right manner to put us in what is a strong position.
“Lewis Goldsworthy showed immense maturity in that partnership with Hildy. His 48 was a brilliant effort by someone who is still in the infancy of his career.”