Kent’s makeshift bowling attack was made to toil on the opening day of their County Championship clash at Surrey on Sunday.
The home side racked up an imposing 445-5 at The Oval with South African Hashim Amla and Ben Geddes both making centuries.
Amla put on 213 for the third wicket with 20-year-old Geddes, who was playing just his fourth first-class game - and the first home fixture of his fledgling career.
Stand-in Kent captain Jack Leaning, skippering the side after Sam Billings was drafted into the England Test side as a Covid replacement for Ben Foakes, won the toss and opted to field first on a green wicket.
Surrey started impressively, though, helped by some wayward Kent bowling from Jacob Duffy and debutant Toby Pettman, who was making his debut after joining on loan from Nottinghamshire.
Ryan Patel got off to a flyer, scoring at more than a run a ball. He had raced to 40 before he edged behind an excellent Matt Milnes delivery to leave Surrey 64-1 in the 12th over.
That soon became 70-2 when, four balls later, Pettman had his first Kent wicket as he strangled Rory Burns down the leg side for 24.
It was a day of landmarks for Amla, who reached 19,000 first-class runs when he reached 26. But he wasn’t finished there. Surrey reached 137-2 at lunch.
There were two chances in the afternoon session for Kent to break the Amla-Geddes partnership.
George Linde missed a run-out opportunity when Geddes took a quick single off Milnes, a direct hit would have seen Amla removed on 47.
Then, with the score on 203-2, Linde was unable to take what would have been an outstanding one-handed grab at backward point to remove Geddes off Duffy for 46.
Skipper Leaning rotated his bowlers as best he could but there were too many loose deliveries which the Surrey pair needed no second invitation to take advantage of.
Amla hit successive boundaries off the expensive Duffy - who had figures of 0-80 in 14 overs at tea - as he reached his 56th first-class ton from 125 balls with 14 fours.
Kent were in danger of being blown away but they regained a relative measure of control in the hour before tea, the final 13 overs of the session going for 31 runs.
It needed the golden arm of Daniel Bell-Drummond to remove Amla, when he clipped to Jordan Cox at mid-wicket to fall for 124, leaving Surrey 283-3 shortly after tea.
Jamie Smith’s straight drive off Bell-Drummond took Surrey beyond 300 in the 73rd over before Geddes reached his century at the other end.
Smith should have departed for 29 when he edged Jas Singh in the gap between a wide first slip in Cox and wicketkeeper Robinson - neither went for the ball.
Geddes pulled Singh for six over mid-wicket in the next over to compound Kent’s misery and even the sight of Darren Stevens on the field performing 12th-man duties failed to raise their spirits.
Milnes deserved more for his efforts throughout the day as he was the pick of the Kent attack, and the only bowler to carry a genuine threat.
He took the second new ball and got an inside edge from Smith’s bat that ran away for four.
Milnes did get his second wicket of the day when Cox took an excellent diving catch at second slip to remove Geddes for 124 - the same score as Amla - with Surrey 390-4.
Surrey gained a fifth batting bonus-point when the 400 came up in the 90th over as Sam Curran hit Milnes for three successive boundaries - maintaining the record of every opponent reaching at least 400 in the County Championship against Kent this summer.
Curran was clearly in boundary mode having watched his team-mates enjoy themselves throughout the day, the England man hitting nine fours and a six in his 26-ball half-century to end the day 53 not out - and giving Milnes' figures a dent in the process.
To say Curran dominated the fifth-wicket partnership with Smith was un understatement. The pair put on 55 together with Curran hitting 53 of them - and a no ball thrown in for good measure. Smith remained on 55 until he was bowled by Pettman in the day's final over.
The signs are ominous for Kent and the hosts are on course to repeat their first innings score of 671-9dec when the two sides drew at Beckenham last month.
Leaning said: "There was plenty of life in the pitch this morning, that was evident with the two early wickets we got when we got the ball in the right area.
"But unfortunately it's another tale of another day in the field for us where we have not been anywhere near out best.
"We've got a big uphill task for the next three days of the game to hopefully turn it around and get ourselves in a position to get something positive out of it.
"There's an even covering of grass on the pitch, green grass as well, and it showed all day with the ball carrying through.
"There was a little bit of movement there and a little bit more swing than we've had this year.
"For me it was the manner it happened, it felt like they were on top for most of the day after we took the positive option to bowl first and look to make the most of the conditions which I think they probably would have done as well if they'd won the toss."