|LV= County Championship Division One, Kia Oval (Day One)|
|Essex 271: Rossington 100, Harmer 50; Worrall 6-56|
|Surrey 24-1: burns 18*; S cooking 1-6|
|Surrey (3 pts) Trail Essex (2 pts) with 247 runs|
Essex wicketkeeper Adam Rossington scored an exceptional century and Surrey bowler Dan Worrall put in an impressive 6-56 as the two counties slugged each other in sweltering conditions on the first day of their Division One game.
Number seven Rossington stormed into his century with an exhilarating attack on second new ball, all out in Essex’s 271, beating Kemar Roach for three leg-side sixes before going over tired Skys the same bowler in the 83rd.
Simon Harmer’s half-century was another fine performance as Essex bounced back strongly after Worrall had previously gone 3-0 on five balls as County Championship leaders initially reduced their opponents to 91-6 by lunchtime.
In 9.1 overs that hit before stumps, Surrey answered 24-1 while Ryan Patel – pushing forward – caught just four from Sam Cook on the second slip in what turned out to be the last ball of the day while Rory Burns’ 18 did not stayed outside.
The determined seventh wicket stand of 113 in 41 overs between Rossington and Harmer held off Surrey for more than two and a half hours and also repelled an attack that had looked unstoppable in the morning session.
Worrall, Roach and Jamie Overton were all very impressive in a sustained, high-profile show of fast swing bowling, with only Alastair Cook putting up long resistance in the opening session when Surrey’s battery of fast and speedy middle bowlers applied an early stranglehold as oppressive as the temperatures around 40 degrees.
Nick Browne got to 10 with a couple of flowing offside shots before Roach formed one from the left hand around the wicket away to force him to play a thin edge against wicket-keeper Ben Foakes in the fifth over.
And although Tom Westley did well to dig up a flaming Roach-Yorker early on when he reached 11 – and helped Cook take Essex to 50 – the Essex captain was the first of three hits in quick succession from Worrall as he played around a straight ball and was thrown back into attack by the Australian’s third ball.
Worrall then pinned Dan Lawrence lbw for a duck with his next ball and allowed a steep run at Paul Walter with the first ball of his next over for the big left-hander caught in the leg to slip out of the glove.
Matt Critchley narrowly survived two confident lbw appeals from Worrall and Essex did well to almost reach the lunchtime sanctuary before Surrey’s faster bowlers intervened again.
Overton angle his second ball over Alastair Cook to keep England’s record Test scorer Ollie Pope good on the second slip for a 75-ball 29.
Roach then bowled Critchley for 21 from an inside edge and both Rossington and Harmer had to deal with a series of leg-before appeals in the afternoon session before reaching tea at 194-6.
Rossington, on the 16th, also edged a brutal ball from Overton just outside the reach of the third slip, for four, and on the 28th, he was close to being Tom Lawes a pound.
Fourth-placed Essex, who started this game with three straight wins but still 47 points adrift of Surrey – albeit with a game in hand – had chosen to bat on a well-grassed surface and Rossington’s heroics ensured that they achieved a competitive overall.
Harmer, who had faced 147 balls, ended up lbw against Worrall, who then slotted Shane Snater in front two balls later to leave Essex 204-8.
But tailender Sam Cook’s unbeaten 21 was a more than useful hand as 58 more runs were added with Rossington for the ninth wicket.
After Rossington went to Roach (3-63) for his superb performance of 151 balls and 227 minutes, with those three late maximums and nine fours, Worrall ended the innings by having last man Jamie Porter for a duck.
Report provided by the ECB Reporters Network.