Sam Northeast hit 91 to spearhead Kent's 351-7 after they were put in by Surrey at Guildford in a County Championship match important to both sides as they look to move more strongly into Division Two promotion contention.
Northeast, who has revived his season since being dropped for a fortnight in June and returning in the No 5 position, featured in stands of 64 and 63 with Ben Harmison (48) and Darren Stevens (34) before being joined in another useful partnership of 56 in 25 overs for the fifth wicket by Sam Billings (57no).
Billings then finished off an excellent team batting performance by immediately attacking the second new ball. The young wicketkeeper-batsman plundered five fours off Matt Dunn in the 81st and 83rd overs and at stumps had reached 57 not out, from 104 balls and with 10 fours.
It was a good effort by Kent, especially after skipper Rob Key was forced to retire hurt on two at the end of the seventh over, and needed a hospital check-up.
He was hit in the box from the first ball he faced, from Dunn, and although he struggled on for a while he was in real discomfort and soon had to come off, although he was able to return to the crease later in the day, albeit only briefly before being trapped lbw by Zafar Ansari for seven.
Left-arm spinner Ansari (1-27) was one of six bowlers used by Surrey and all of them claimed at least a wicket, fast bowler Stuart Meaker leading the way with 2-87 from his 27 overs.
In the other Division Two fixture starting on Sunday, hosts Derbyshire emerged on top as 16 wickets fell against Glamorgan.
Glamorgan collapsed to 138 all out in 53.2 overs after being sent in to bat, seamers Alex Hughes (4-46) and Tony Palladino (3-14) doing much of the damage.
Derbyshire edged ahead at 142-6 in reply by stumps, Wes Durston becoming the first batsman on either side to reach 50 before falling to James Harris (2-41), who is back on loan at Glamorgan from Middlesex.