NICK Browne top-scored for Essex with an unbeaten 86 in the county’s friendly with Surrey at Chelmsford.
Essex reached 231-5 from their opening 60 overs in the two-day match with captain James Foster also unbeaten on 29.
Tom Westley faced the first ball of the new season at the County Ground and Chris Tremlett’s deliver struck the batsman’s pads.
Despite vociferous lbw appeals from Surrey’s players, they fell on deaf ears.
Westley and opening partner Jaik Mickleburgh kept the scoreboard ticking over and Westley played a fine shot through the covers for four in the hoghlight of the morning.
But having contributed 15 runs to the Essex total of 36, he was trapped lbw by Tremlett and this time there was no reprieve.
Mickleburgh became the second Essex batsman to fall lbw three oves later when he became a victim of Tom Curran’s third ball of the day.
Browne took the total to 50 and he and Greg Smith put on 34 in 10 overs when Smith edged Matthew Dunn to Gareth Barry at first slip, having scored 17 runs.
Former captain Mark Pettini then joined Browne in the middle and they put on 41 runs to take Essex to 113-3 at lunch with Browne on 40 and Pettini on 18.
Pettini failed to add to his total before he was out lbw to George Edwards to leave Essex on 114-4.
Ben Foakes joined Browne and they compiled a partnership of 61 runs in 13 overs, with Foakes having struck seven fours as he notched up his half-century. Foakes was on 41 runs when he was caught at cover by Rory Burns from a Stuart Meaker delivery.
Foster then combined with a Browne and contributed two sixes and two fours as he hit 29 runs in their unbroken partnership of 56.
Having completed their initial 60 overs in the field, Surrey then started batting for their scheduled 40 overs.
Graham Napier claimed the first of the visitors scalps by trapping Rory Burns lbw for 17 to leave Surrey on 31-1.
The Colchester-based player then had Dominic Sibley out lbw for 13 and the visitors on 36-2.
Napier claimed his third victim when he bowled Steven Davies for four to leave Surrey struggling at 42-3.
Saj Mahmood made it 49-4 when Gary Wilson edged his delivery into the hands of wicketkeeper Foster after scoring five runs.
Zafar Ansari became the final victim of the day when he was stumped off the bowling of Smith for 20 to leave Surrey resuming on 104-5 tomorrow morning.