“SCARBADOS” – sometimes known as “Scarborough” – actually felt like Barbados yesterday.
True, there were no palm trees swaying on the North Marine Road, unless one had consumed a few too many sherbets, or steel drums going in the Peasholm Park end.
But with the hot conditions more evocative of the Caribbean island than the North Yorkshire coast, and the air alive with the smell of suncream, it was a day when the town’s nickname, at least among the more hip and trendy of Yorkshire’s cricketing aficionados, seemed appropriate.
The wicket, good for batting with plenty of pace and carry, might have been borrowed from Barbados’s Kensington Oval.
Neither side had wanted to bowl on it, and after Surrey declined the right of the visiting team to do just that, Yorkshire’s Steve Patterson sent his batsmen out into the ‘Scarbados’ sunshine after winning the toss, the hosts scoring 299-8 in a good recovery from 166-6.
Jonny Tattersall, the 23-year-old wicketkeeper, top-scored with 70 from 177 balls with 10 fours, his maiden first-class fifty, and Tim Bresnan contributed 48, the pair adding 100 for the seventh wicket in 31 overs.
Earlier, Gary Ballance continued his fine form with 54, but Yorkshire were kept in check by the visiting bowlers.
Before a crowd of 4,384 (who needs Virat Kohli to put backsides on seats here?), Alex Lees had only two overs in the sunshine before he was back in the cool and shade of the pavilion.
Lees was caught and bowled off a combination of bat and pad by Jade Dernbach for a duck, his fourth in his last six Championship innings. That brought to the crease Cheteshwar Pujara, the Indian who is playing his final game before the forthcoming Test series against England and his first match at North Marine Road.
It took Pujara 70 minutes and 42 balls to get off the mark, as though he wanted to drink in the picturesque scene before settling down to the prosaic business of scoring runs.
In truth he had to repel some probing stuff from the bowlers, led by Morne Morkel, who played one match for Yorkshire in 2008.
Pujara left well, particularly on length, with the ball often passing so close to his stumps that it was as though he had an internal ball-tracking system.
When he shouldered arms to one delivery from Dernbach that rapped him on the pads it was judgment of the highest degree, even if Dernbach evidently disagreed with umpire Peter Hartley that the ball was missing.
Earlier this year Pujara took 79 minutes and 54 balls to get off the mark in the Wanderers Test against South Africa, loud cheers ringing out when he finally opened his account here with a cover-driven four off Ryan Patel.
If there was one criticism of Surrey in an engaging first session in which Yorkshire reached 76-2 it was that they fed Adam Lyth’s cover drive a little too often.
Lyth was soon scorching the grass with his signature shot, and he had scored 42 out of 51 when he was second out in the 20th over, driving Morkel to Theunis de Bruyn in the gully.
Yorkshire, unchanged from their draw against Hampshire last week, were going along pretty well when they suddenly lost two wickets in four balls half-an-hour after lunch.
Off-spinner Amar Virdi had Pujara caught at short-leg off bat and pad and then trapped Harry Brook lbw as he played back to a delivery that seemed to skid through.
Virdi, a 19-year-old whose thick beard and sunglasses give him the air of a man twice that age, looks a good prospect, but it was a man who will be twice Virdi’s age next year who got the next wicket as Yorkshire slipped to 139-5.
The evergreen Rikki Clarke bowled Ballance shouldering arms, ending an innings that saw Ballance craft his 54 from 68 balls with eight fours and a pulled six off Virdi that took him to his fifty.
Jack Leaning batted solidly for almost 90 minutes before miscuing a pull off Dernbach to deep mid-wicket, Yorkshire taking tea at 185-6.
At that stage one sensed that the Championship leaders might turn the screw, but Surrey were skilfully held up by Tattersall and Bresnan.
As the visitors’ frustration grew Morkel tried to bounce the pair, bowling a ‘Bodyline’ of sorts from around the wicket.
It was not quite as effective as Harold Larwood circa 1933, however, with both batsmen showing their bottle as well as their class.
Bresnan had a life on 18 when he was dropped by wicketkeeper Ollie Pope, diving full-length to his right off Patel, the ball disappearing to the third-man boundary, before Clarke finally bowled him with the second new ball.
Tattersall, strong off his hips and quickly into position, had a hundred in his sights only for Morkel to have him caught at second slip in the closing stages.