WHEN people look back at this season, there will be little debate over which great of the game, Graeme Smith or Ricky Ponting, had the better debut innings for Surrey. Back on April 18, captain Smith was caught just two runs into his Surrey batting career on the second day at Somerset. Surrey's season has stuttered since then, with Smith eventually being ruled out through injury, but this week's game at Derbyshire saw the debut of another legend, Ponting. Upon arrival the former Australian skipper promised to help turn around Surrey's season and he certainly lived up to that billing in his first innings for Chris Adams' team. After both Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen and Shivnarine Chanderpaul surpassed centuries for the home-team, things were not looking good for Surrey. Derbyshire finished their first innings on 452 all out despite Chris Tremlett (5-95) taking his first five-wicket haul in the County Championship cricket for Surrey, And things did not get better for Surrey when opener Rory Burns was run out by a direct hit by Madsen, attempting a third run following a mis-field. But Arun Harinath (13no) and Vikram Solanki (10) saw the visitors through to the close on Friday night but Saturday was all about Ponting. The Australian came to the crease after Solanki was caught by Billy Godleman for 35 off the bowling of Wes Durston – and he never left. Ponting made an impressive partnership with Harinath before the latter was finally bowled by David Wainwright for 154, before continuing alongside Zander De Bruyn and then Steve Davies. Play closed on Saturday with Ponting not out on 120 from 182, including 13 fours, supported by Davies on seven not out. And with Surrey finishing the day on 362-4, Ponting could well have had an immediate impact on the Oval team.
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