DAY 1 Close: Surrey 56-1 trail Gloucestershire 229 by 173 runs (PTS: Surrey 3, Glos 1)
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Gloucestershire improved as the day got sunnier at the Oval but will be disappointed with their day in their second London engagement in consecutive weeks.
They will be mightily relieved that Gemaal Hussain knocked out Gareth Batty's off-stump in the day's penultimate over, otherwise the visitors could already be really behind the eight-ball.
Batty and Arun Harinath played some beautiful strokes and made batting look like a Christmas gift that had been ripped open and was being enjoyed with glee. Admittedly, under sunny skies batting was easier, but the pitch was not different to 11:00.
Having won the toss, the natural thing to do was to bat first at the Oval. But Gloucestershire aren't the team to negotiate tricky first-hours under laden skies. And so it proved as Batty was caught down the legside for a poor return to his old club; Marshall edged a length ball to slip; and Gidman was undone by some extra bounce and chipped up a simple catch to square leg.
A brief rally followed - another score-of-sorts for Chris Dent - but again no batsmen spent some significant time trying to build an innings. Snell played well, if a little too loosely, and on a different day could have edged a catch for a far smaller score, but his 48 was invaluable.
But the day really belonged to Vikram Banerjee. In his first championship match of the season he was incredibly determined at the crease, only played within his means, knew where to score and picked up his runs steadily for a highest first-class score. And produced a hint of turn in his two overs before the close.
Steve Kirby was also extremely dogged in putting on 13 to inch Gloucestershire over the 200 mark, before playing some delightful strokes for his 20 not out.
Lower order runs pulled the visitors back into the game. 127-7 at the Oval was nearly a score to put Gloucestershire out of the game. Although 229 is a below-par total, as this blog always advocates, it's runs on the board.
Coverage continues tomorrow from 10:55 on www.gloscricketradio.moonfruit.com
Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk