Jason Roy made a career-best 143 before rain frustrated Surrey’s attempts to press home their advantage against Lancashire’s cricketers in the LV= County Championship match at the Kia Oval.
Surrey are still in a strong position on 435 for eight at the halfway stage in the battle of the Division Two’s top two but they could have done without the rain and bad light after tea, which took 29 overs off the day’s allocation after 50 overs had been lost on the first day.
After cloud cover on much of day one, conditions for batting were much better on the second morning and Roy took full advantage as he became the first Surrey batsman to score 100 runs before lunch since Ian Greig went from 56 to 201 in the opening session in the corresponding fixture in 1990.
Roy dealt particularly harshly with left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan, who was playing at the Oval for the first time since his ill-fated England Test debut in the final match of the 2013 Ashes series.
The 24-year-old went from 77 to 102 in nine Kerrigan deliveries, striking him for two sixes - one straight and the other over long-off - and three boundaries, the third of which was punched through square to bring up his sixth first-class hundred, the second 50 of which was scored from 34 deliveries.
The in-form Steven Davies gave Roy excellent support in a punishing stand of 236 in 48 overs for the fifth wicket, with Davies going on to make 86 from 153 balls with 10 fours to raise his aggregate for the season to 553 Championship runs.
Roy passed 3,000 first-class runs when he reached 65 and offered just one half-chance, a slash which narrowly evaded the slips on 103.
Lancashire took the new ball as soon as it became available and it did the trick. Roy, who faced 166 balls and hit 19 fours and two sixes, was caught at gully forcing off the back foot at Kyle Jarvis, while Davies, playing away from his body, followed shortly afterwards when he was caught at slip off Tom Bailey.
But Ben Foakes, on his Championship debut after joining Surrey from Essex in the winter, and Gareth Barry soon regained the initiative for their side by adding 78 in 18 overs for the seventh wicket, with Foakes playing some eye-catching shots on both sides of the wicket.
Batty (36) fell just before Surrey claimed maximum batting points when Jordan Clark got one to hold its line and Clark struck again in his next over when Tom Curran (6) was caught behind.
But Foakes pushed on to lodge his first half-century for his new county as he took advantage of regular wicketkeeper-batsman Gary Wilson’s absence this week because of Ireland commitments.
When the rain moved in he was undefeated on 60 from 86 balls with nine fours, but Surrey’s bowlers will need to make early inroads on the third day if they are to put Lancashire under pressure on a pitch which is offering negligible assistance for seam or spin.
Lancashire head coach Ashley Giles admitted his side had been second best all day.
He said: “It’s been a good day for Surrey. We would have started the day with high hopes of making early inroads, but we didn’t do that.
“We talked about hitting our lines and lengths consistently. Perhaps some of the time we didn’t do that and against someone like Jason, he’s a dangerous player.
“Once the ball got old, it was pretty free-scoring this morning with the sun out. That’s when you have to come back to your disciplines. I thought we lost it for a little while and we could have done certain things better. But you have to take your hat off to Jason and give him full credit.
“If we play well, we’ll be fine. When we start batting with them 430 on the board, maybe 450, we’ve got to look to bat long.”