|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Kia Oval (day one):|
|Surrey 342-7: Jacks 88, Patel 70*, Foakes 69; Siddle 4-82|
|Essex: Yet to bat|
|Surrey 3 pts, Essex 2 pts|
England’s Ben Foakes struck 69 as Surrey began their County Championship title defence with a fruitful opening day against Essex at The Oval.
Foakes, dropped on nought, hit 14 fours before being caught by Alastair Cook at first slip off Simon Harmer (2-67).
International team-mate Rory Burns was earlier caught behind for 31, while Ollie Pope, who made his Test debut against India last summer, made four.
Surrey closed on 342-7, with Will Jacks (88) falling shortly before stumps.
Jacks, who rose to prominence in March with a 25-ball century in a pre-season 10-over game against Lancashire, looked destined for his maiden first-class century before being bowled by Peter Siddle (4-82).
But Ryan Patel, with whom he had put on 151 for the fifth wicket, remained unbeaten on 70 – an innings that has so far lasted 223 deliveries.
Essex dismissed the Brown Caps for just 67 on their way to a dramatic one-wicket victory in their final match of 2018, but there was never likely to be a repeat of that collapse after Surrey won the toss and elected to bat under clear skies in London.
Captain Burns, the Championship’s leading run scorer last season, looked in good touch until he edged behind off Jamie Porter (1-85), while opening partner Mark Stoneman reached 45 before falling to Siddle.
Pope then lasted just three deliveries to leave Surrey 86-3, but Foakes knuckled down with Patel to put on 95 for the fourth wicket and wrestle back momentum for the hosts.
Former England skipper Cook – making his second County Championship appearance since his Test retirement – then snaffled Foakes in the slips, before Patel combined with Jacks to push the home side on further.
Jacks’ dismissal sparked a flurry of three wickets for nine runs in the final six overs, but Liam Plunkett and Patel will resume on day two.