England batsman Ollie Pope hits fifth Championship century in seven matches against Hampshire as Surrey dominate opening day at The Oval

Ollie Pope continued his superb record against Hampshire as Surrey earned opening day honours in the second LV= County Championship game of the season at The Oval.

By Community Sport Reporter
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 6:37 pm
Ollie Pope of Surrey bats during day one of the the LV= Insurance County Championship match against Hampshire. Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images.
Ollie Pope of Surrey bats during day one of the the LV= Insurance County Championship match against Hampshire. Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images.

The England batsman struck a superb 113 not out - his fifth first-class ton against Hampshire - to help the hosts reach a dominant 312-3 at stumps.

Former Hampshire batsman Hashim Amla followed up his unbeaten double century in last year’s corresponding fixture with 73, writes MARK BALDWIN.

Ryan Patel, who scored a fine 58, also played his part as Surrey made light of being asked to bat first on a green-hued pitch.

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Ollie Pope and Hashim Amla of Surrey punch gloves during day one of the the LV= Insurance County Championship match against Hampshire. Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images.

The surface actually proved easy-paced but Patel and Rory Burns (21) still did much to blunt the new ball threat of Mohammad Abbas, Keith Barker and Kyle Abbott.

Amla and Pope then added 114 for the third wicket, only being parted when Amla slashed at a short, wide ball from Ian Holland and edged behind after facing 173 balls across almost four hours.

Ben Foakes then arrived to help Pope put on a further unbroken 79, and Pope’s only false shot in a classy innings – following his 58 in last week’s draw against champions Warwickshire – was a fortuitous top-edged six off James Fuller.

In all, Pope faced 170 balls, hitting 12 fours and the six, and Foakes also struck four lovely fours in his unbeaten 32.

Earlier in the day, Burns was beaten once by a beauty from Barker but clipped the next ball confidently through mid-wicket for three and, overall, looked in good touch during his 55-minute stay.

There were two fours in his 21, too, and it was a surprise when Burns departed in the 13th over, aiming an expansive drive towards extra cover against Holland’s fourth ball and edging to Liam Dawson at second slip.

The last ball of Holland’s opening over also saw Amla survive a concerted leg-before appeal as the medium-pacer darted one back sharply off the seam.

Amla was also close to being given out lbw a second time against Holland, before he had reached double figures.

Patel, on 13, edged Abbott just short of third slip and he was fortunate when another edge, this time against Holland, flew through the gap between second slip and gully for four and took him to 24.

Shortly before lunch, Patel flayed the returning Barker through extra cover off the back foot when the left-armer dropped a fraction short. It was a stroke which displayed both the easy pace of the pitch and the opener’s growing confidence, and Patel completed an excellent, combative half-century with another flashing cover drive for four, this time off Abbott.

There was just one more glorious offside boundary, though, before Patel fell in the 38th over – pulling seamer Fuller’s second ball to Abbas on the long leg rope.

Amla, meanwhile, had needed some luck on 20 when Dawson failed to hold a fast-travelling shoulder-high edge from an attempted square cut at Abbas.

In warm afternoon sun, Pope was soon into his stride with an extra cover four off Fuller and a lovely whip through mid-wicket off Abbott.

He then took fours from successive Holland deliveries with a leg glance and authoritative square cover drive. Best of all, perhaps, was the delightful late cut for four off Holland.

Both players reached fifty before tea, taken at 212-2, with Amla taking 116 balls to Pope’s 73, and it was a disappointment for a large crowd when Amla was out in the seventh over after tea. Pope - who started the game averaging 113 against Hampshire in his six previous Championship matches - and Foakes, though, made sure it was Surrey’s day.