|LV= County Championship Group Two, Kia Oval, London (day three):|
|Leicestershire 375 & 21-0: Azad 13*|
|Surrey 672-8 dec: Pope 245, Smith 123, Foakes 87|
|Leicestershire (5 pts) trail Surrey (7 pts) by 276 runs|
England’s Ollie Pope made a brilliant 245 as Surrey piled on the runs against Leicestershire on day three of their County Championship match at The Oval.
The 23-year-old, who resumed on 92, fell six short of his career-best 251 when he was stumped off Colin Ackermann before Surrey declared on 672-8.
Pope was involved in two huge stands of 229 with Ben Foakes (87) and 234 with Jamie Smith (123) for the fifth wicket.
Leicestershire closed on 21-0 in their second innings, trailing by 276.
Leicestershire’s two opponents this season have now scored more than 600 runs in their first innings after Hampshire made 612-5 in their big victory over the Foxes in the opening round.
This time their bowlers had no answer to a batsman of Pope’s class in a knock which only took 272 balls and included 30 fours.
While Pope has not quite fired at Test level, averaging 31.92 in his 17 matches for England, he pushed his first-class average beyond 50 in scoring his 10th hundred.
He looked disappointed when he was given out stumped, having just failed to get his foot back down in time after taking a big swing at Ackermann.
The right-hander would have surely set his sights on going beyond 300 – the first time a Surrey player would have done so since Kevin Pietersen hit 355 not out against Leicestershire in 2015.
The visitors had a glimmer of hope of keeping Surrey to a manageable score when England wicketkeeper Foakes was bowled by Dieter Klein just short of his second century of the season.
But from 322-4, Pope and 20-year-old Smith dominated as the latter went on to record his second first-class century.
Jordan Clark’s rapid unbeaten 61 then took Surrey to their highest score in the County Championship since 2006 when they made 717 against Somerset.
Left with 17 overs to bat, Leicestershire openers Hassan Azad and Sam Evans saw them out to give the visitors a better chance of salvaging a draw.