First day: Surrey have scored 214 for four against Warwickshire
A day bedevilled by rain finished with honours just about even as Surrey and Warwickshire battled for the momentum.
Warwickshire bowled well in patches but were unable to maintain the pressure while Surrey lost three quick wickets in mid-afternoon to squander a decent platform. Much will depend on the first session this morning.
There is assistance for the bowlers here for sure. The ball swings and the pitch offers plenty of carry. But it is also a true strip and, with a fast outfield and short boundaries, no margin for error is available.
Although Nick Knight would also have batted, this was not the most important of the six tosses he has lost for the Bears this Championship season. In overcast conditions the ball moved in the air all day but, with the weather expected to improve, batting conditions will ease.
Scott Newman perished early, chasing a wide one, but Richard Clinton and Mark Ramprakash added 112 in 38 overs, seeing off the new ball and establishing the foundation for a challenging total.
Dougie Brown, delivering an immaculate line and length, offered the batsmen nothing. But Naqaash Tahir and Neil Carter failed to maintain the consistency required and delivered far too many poor balls. That 136 runs were scored in boundaries in only 58 overs says much about the bowling.
It was a day in which both sides of Carter were on display. He has started this season well, revitalising a career that appeared finished last September. He has seen off younger men to retain his place and bowled with greater discipline than at any stage in his career. Most impressively of all, he has started to swing the ball back into the right-handers, rendering him a much greater danger than before.
His dismissal of Ramprakash was a fine example. Ramprakash had looked in fine touch, dealing clinically with the poor ball as well as unveiling a spectacular cut for four off Carter and a lovely drive off Tahir. But Carter found the perfect ball, pitched full and swinging in late, to clean bowl perhaps the finest batsman in England.
He followed that by rapping Rikki Clarke on the right hand with a ball that leapt nastily off a length. The batsman required lengthy treatment and never looked comfortable thereafter, soon perishing to a top-edged pull.
It was fine fast bowling. But interspersed among the gems was a liberal quantity of tosh, most noticeably when he had Ali Brown, who looked in lethal form, caught by Michael Powell at mid-wicket off a no ball.
Clinton, a 23-year-old product of Loughborough UCCE, never looked fully comfortable but put away the bad ball effectively. Several times he was beaten outside the off stump and lived a somewhat charmed life through the gully and point region before he was well caught driving without moving his feet at one angled away from him.
Brown and Jonathan Batty went on the offensive in the last session, stealing much of the initiative from Warwickshire.
Surrey, searching for an overseas replacement for the injured Azhar Mahmood, have a long tail. With concerns over the fitness of Jimmy Ormond and Martin Bicknell, and with Clarke playing only as a batsman, the side is stacked with bowlers. Judging by the dry, straw-coloured pitch, Harbhajan Sing will find turn aplenty.
* There was no play on the first day of Warwickshire's three-day Second XI Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Worksop.