Kumar Sangakkara was in fine form at The Kia Oval, making 171 on day one of this Specsavers County Championship First Division match.
It was the 38-year-old Sri Lankan’s 56th First Class hundred and his highest score in the Specsavers County Championship, helping his side to 394 for 5 from 87 overs before play was abandoned because of bad light.
Sangakkara went on the offensive as soon as he came to the crease during the tenth over after Arun Harinath (9) had fallen lbw to Craig Overton’s fourth ball after switching ends.
Overton bowled aggressively at times but a flat pitch gave the bowlers little to work with and Sangakkara was soon throwing his hands through the ball with a series of powerful drives and pulls.
He had a reprieve on nine when he was put down at slip off Overton but sped to a 52-ball half-century with the second of four sixes.
Sangakkara found the perfect foil in Rory Burns and the pair put on 187 for the second wicket.
The Sri Lankan reached his century with another six over long on, this time off Roelof van der Merwe, and Burns looked on course for a hundred of his own until he was well held by van der Merwe off a mis-timed on-drive for 80.
Sangakkara finally fell when he was caught at deep cover by Overton, running to his left, off Tim Groenewald. He’d faced 175 balls and hit 24 boundaries.
Jason Roy then picked up where Sangakkara had left off and reached 50 off 52 balls.
After a short stoppage for bad light he attacked the new ball before he played across a straight one from Lewis Gregory for 85 from 88 balls, with 11 fours.
Soon after play ended early on the opening day Somerset Director of Cricket, Matt Maynard said: “It has been a hard day for us and Sangakkara played really well, but we didn’t help ourselves and dropped four catches.
“We put him down twice before he got going which was disappointing, because it meant that rather than being 40 for two and the new ball still hard, they were 180 for one which is a slightly different ball game.
“Every now and then you do have days like this. Last year in the first half of the season we hardly put anything down, so it was just one of those days.
“Craig Overton was superb in his opening spell, but had ‘Sanga’ dropped off him. He bowled really well up front and looked international class.”
Looking ahead Matt said: “The wicket is dry which is why Jack Leach is playing and it was a big toss which we didn’t call correctly. It’s a very good wicket and I think if it dries out a little bit more it will start to grip and it could get quite difficult so we don’t want a 600 or anything like that.”
Matt added: “We will be looking to keep them at the 450-500 mark which is manageable and then we will have to bat well.”