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County Championship roundup: Ed Smith sees Surrey’s batsmen find form

• Ryan Patel, Ben Foakes and Will Jacks all pass 50 against Essex
• Gary Ballance and Joe Root in the runs again for Yorkshire

Surrey’s title defence got under way with a flourish at The Oval as a succession of their young batsmen gamboled in the spring sunshine in front of watching England chairman of selectors, Ed Smith. Rory Burns and Mark Stoneman put on 75 for the first wicket before three wickets fell for 11 runs. Peter Siddle, on his return to Essex, took two wickets in an over, including Ollie Pope for a solitary boundary.

But then Ryan Patel, steadily, Ben Foakes, prettily, and Will Jacks, with gumption, all passed fifty. Jacks, who hit a 25-ball hundred against Lancashire in March, was off the mark with a six, and continued on the attack until he was bowled by Siddle for 88 – Siddle finishing with four for 82. A late-afternoon fightback by the bowlers gave Essex something to chew on overnight, but Patel was still there, 70 not out, at the close.

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