Surrey 126-0 v Worcestershire.

For once, the weather forecasters got it spot on yesterday. Just 38.4 overs were possible, but that was time enough for Scott Newman and Jonathan Batty to lay the foundations for what seems likely to be a sizeable first innings total, particularly with a Surrey line-up that has Clarke, Benning and Azhar Mahmood due to come in at six, seven and eight.

The fact that the home side went unscathed was also due to the failure of Worcestershire's seamers to make full use of the overhead conditions, which caused the new ball to swing around appreciably. Matt Mason, coming on first change, asked most of the questions, but for a bowler of Zaheer Khan's experience it was surprising how seldom he genuinely beat the bat. Perhaps he was anxious not to run on the wicket, after being ticked off by both umpires.

But take nothing away from Newman and Batty, who have now shared in four three-figure opening stands in first-class cricket this summer. The difference here is that this one has come in the first innings, so it could end up setting the tone. So far their unbeaten 126-run alliance has been a mix of Newman's calculated aggression and Batty's more watchful modus operandi. But, for the first hour and a half, both looked attentive, with only five fours being struck in the opening 22 overs.

Then Newman, for whom this is an important season if he is to fulfil his ambition to play for England, came to the fore by lifting Mason over cover point and, next ball, finding the boundary again by punching the tall Western Australian back over his head and into the advertising boards in front of the members' pavilion.

In the thirtieth over the 26-year-old left-hander brought up his fifth championship half-century in six visits to the crease off 92 balls; only for rain to bring a premature end to proceedings in the fourth over after lunch.