And so it returned, county cricket in all its glory.
Mother nature bestowed on these great isles a day of scorching(ish) sunshine to welcome back our old chum.
Surrey will be the happiest team today, though the way that Glamorgan were filleted by Northants gives the latter some claim.
On a day when there were England hopefuls hitting tons and Kolpak players aplenty, we begin our new, daily round-up of county action.
See you tomorrow for more...
Star of the day:
It is hard to look beyond Mark Stoneman, who hit an big hundred on his Surrey debut. The elegant left-hander produced a well-crafted 165 on a slow deck at The Oval to put his new team in the driving seat against Warwickshire - more on them later.
Golden ball award:
Glamorgan staggered into three figures after a top-order collapse left them 26/5 on the opening morning of the new season. Ben Sanderson’s 3/20, including the wicket of dangerman and skipper Jacques Rudolph, was economical as well as being effective for Northants.
New Yorkshire skipper Gary Ballance (120) started his season in the best possible way with a ton at Headingley against Hampshire. A late-order collapse limited the White Rose to just 273 though.
Shot of the day:
There are few things that tell us the English summer is here more than a majestic drive through the off-side at a sun-bathed Oval. Add in that this brought up Stoneman’s 150 (on debut) and it’s an easy choice.
Haseeb Hameed fell just short of his 50. Stuart Broad took the first wicket of the new season and ended 15-2-45-3. Jimmy Anderson had a brief spell at the end of the day. Lions skipper Dawid Malan hit 116 against Cambridge MCCU.
Warwickshire skipper Ian Bell decided to have a bowl at the Oval but will have spent much of the day ruing his decision after Stoneman, Rory Burns and then Kumar Sangakarra made hay on an absolute road of a track, condemning his side to a seven-hour stint in the dirt.
The Princess Fiona award:
Leicestershire, like Princess Fiona in the Pixar film, both got screwed by Shrek. Or Charlie Shreck. The seamer’s verbal tirade towards a student in a warm-up game left the Foxes starting the season on -16 points and the quick suspended.
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