A hard-hitting and yet stylish century by Andrew Symonds ensured that Kent took full advantage of batting first in good conditions and confirmed that Surrey, champions elect a month ago, are now little more than also-rans.
They suffered, as they have done recently, through a tiredness in their bowling. However, without many suitable understudies, they have had to flog their willing workhorses close to exhaustion.
Jimmy Ormond is the perfect example. Spoken of as a possible England bowler in mid-summer, he has continued to play despite sore knees, acting as strike bowler or container as the situation demands, but his opening spell yesterday was so insipid that his continued selection is starting to be counter-productive.
However, with Martin Bicknell and Saqlain Mushtaq away on international duty, Alex Tudor on the physio's couch and Azhar Mahmood a late drop-out with a tight hamstring, there was nobody else, so Ormond cantered to the crease, barely got his arm perpendicular and sent down a few trundlers.
Franklyn Rose, a late season signing, was brisker from the Nackington Road end but hardly threatened and, in a desperate attempt to stem the flow of easy runs that the Kent openers, David Fulton and Michael Carberry accumulated in the morning session, Adam Hollioake tried six bowlers, to no avail.
When Fulton and Carberry were dismissed, both edging lifting deliveries by Rose soon after lunch, it brought little succour as Symonds, who was economical with foot movement but decisive in shot selection, dominated the afternoon. Standing tall, he drove powerfully straight down the ground and cut with ferocity anything a little short and wide, of which there was rather too much. Ian Salisbury finally had him stumped at the second attempt by Jonathan Batty for 121.
Kent have won their past three games with their own late season signing, Muttiah Muralitharan taking 21 wickets. A score in excess of 550 would give him plenty of opportunity to bowl Kent towards another victory. If he does, the Surrey bowlers may view it as blessed relief as they may not need to bowl again in this game.Reuse content