Shivnarine Chanderpaul and skipper Wayne Madsen shared the first 200 stand for Derbyshire against Surrey on the opening day of their Division One clash at Derby.
The pair's record partnership took the spotlight away from Ricky Ponting on the Australian's LV= County Championship debut for Surrey.
Ponting watched from the slip cordon as 38-year-old Chanderpaul and Madsen staged a Derbyshire recovery which saw the bottom team close a rain-shortened day on 232-2.
Chanderpaul was applauded by Ponting when he celebrated his 67th first-class century - and his first for Derbyshire - with the West Indian Test star undefeated on 112 with Madsen 92 not out when bad light ended play eight overs early.
It made the three-hour wait for the match to begin worthwhile for the Derbyshire supporters after the rain which washed out Wednesday's Yorkshire Bank 40 game between these teams had left the County Ground outfield saturated.
When umpires Neil Bainton and Nigel Cowley decided conditions had improved enough for the match to begin at 3.15pm, it was on the same pitch used for the one-day game and Madsen decided to bat after winning the toss for the first time in a Championship game this season.
Jade Dernbach had been called into the England squad as cover for Tim Bresnan but Surrey's attack made early inroads with Chris Tremlett striking in the first over.
Derbyshire's decision looked a dubious one when Tremlett bowled Chesney Hughes who failed to go forward or back to his first ball and home supporters feared the worst when Billy Godleman joined him in the pavilion.
Godleman appeared to be settling in when he pushed forward at Tim Linley in the 12th over and was well caught low down at third slip by Zander de Bruyn for 17.
At 29-2, Derbyshire were struggling but Chanderpaul and Madsen played positively from the start to take the initiative away from Surrey.