Rory Burns made his second hundred of the season as Surrey reached 267-4 on day one of their LV= County Championship Division One clash with Middlesex at Lord's.
Surrey skipper Graeme Smith went for a duck after deciding to bat first but Burns (114) and Arun Harinath (61) got the visitors on track with a second-wicket stand of 147.
Smith has an average of 82 from three Tests for South Africa at Lord's but failed to get off the mark in 15 balls here, eventually edging Tim Murtagh to first slip, where Dawid Malan took a good catch down by his ankles.
Middlesex led the table after wins in their first two matches and seamers Murtagh, Steven Finn and Toby Roland-Jones bowled a tight line here but they were frustrated by Burns and Harinath, who made slow but steady progress.
Surrey only managed 45 runs from 30 overs during a quiet morning session but they took 99 off 34 overs in the afternoon and were not separated until the second over after tea, when Harinath was caught behind off Finn.
And Burns, a compact left-hander, went on to complete a deserved hundred, as he and Vikram Solanki added 64 for the third wicket.
The 22-year-old Burns might have been caught behind off Murtagh when on 35 and then escaped on 38 when Paul Stirling could have run home out with a direct hit from gully, but he went on to reach 100 from 251 balls.
Solanki made 43 himself before he was caught behind driving at Corey Collymore, and Burns had batted for five hours and 20 minutes, facing 267 balls and hitting 12 fours, when he inside-edged Murtagh into his own stumps.
Zander de Bruyn (12 not out) and Steve Davies (24 not out) then added an unbroken 33 to see Surrey through to the close and complete a satisfactory first day for the visitors.