Surrey 132-1 v Gloucestershire 207.

Surrey have not beaten Gloucestershire in the County Championship since 1995. Even then they only won by a single wicket after being asked to follow-on. But the Brown Caps have already established such a firm grip on this contest that, without the influential Jon Lewis, the visitors must be praying that the bright sunshine that adorned yesterday's proceedings will be replaced by torrents of rain, and soon.

That Gloucestershire's hopes are currently hanging by a thread is due entirely to Phil Weston. The tall 32-year-old left-hander very nearly carried his bat, but made a valiant 102, lasting just long enough for his side to scrape a batting point. But their 207, after winning the toss and electing to bat, was the lowest first innings total in a championship match at the Oval since May 2003.

Craig Spearman went in the sixth over when Azhar Mahmood got one to leave him off the wicket. Matt Windows, attempting to withdraw the bat was also caught behind. After Chris Taylor was adjudged leg before, when he walked into, arguably, the only straight ball of James Benning's opening spell, Weston reeled off some eye-catching drives, only to then lose his captain, Alex Gidman and Ian Harvey in the run up to lunch.

After the break, Weston, who received slightly sturdier support from the lower order, straight drove Benning for six. But when the young all-rounder served up a slower one to Steve Adshead, the Gloucestershire wicketkeeper drove the ball obligingly to Alistair Brown at cover point. With Martyn Ball and Carl Greenidge departing to successive deliveries, the visitors found themselves 145 for eight.

But their blushes were spared when James Averis joined Weston in a partnership worth 50 runs in sixteen overs. It took a sharp catch at slip to bring the curtain down on it and Ian Salisbury showed his appreciation by pecking Azhar, the catcher, on the cheek. Three overs later Weston brought up his hundred, but could not resist when Nayan Doshi threw up a tempting delivery and Ramprakash took a superbly judged catch ten yards in from the fence at deep mid-wicket.

Weston batted for 279 minutes, faced 214 balls and struck 16 boundaries to record the 23rd century of his first-class career, and his first in the championship since the 135 he made against Surrey at Bristol almost two years ago.

With Jimmy Ormond and Azhar Mahmood leaving the field for treatment at times, the hosts must have been encouraged by the form of Salisbury, who picked up three for 29. Judging by his fourteen overs, the 36-year-old former England leg-spinner appears to be in a good groove. Whilst he appears to be making a speciality of knocking over the tail, the wickets he has taken at Leicester and here have been no less valuable.

After the early loss of Jonathan Batty, to an inside edge, Scott Newman, who had one century and four fifties from six first-class innings before yesterday, went past 500 runs for the season when he pushed Steve Kirby up the ground past a half-hearted dive by Greenidge for two. That was in the same over as the Surrey southpaw collected two on driven fours. Six overs later Newman progressed to his latest half-century in 77 deliveries.

Ramprakash reached his, off 80 balls, five overs from the end with his tenth boundary, which he drove past the man stationed at backward point off Gidman. The Surrey pair have so far put on an unbeaten 119 in 28 overs. If they are allowed to re-establish themselves this morning, it could well prove to be a long day in the field for the visitors.