Jamie Smith crowned his England Test call-up with a century for Surrey in their title duel with Essex.

The 23-year-old stroked his way to 100 on the opening day of the Vitality County Championship Division One clash between two sides who started 12 points apart.

It was Smith’s second ton of the campaign but England want him to combine making runs in his commanding style with keeping wicket – which means he replaces county colleague Ben Foakes for the West Indies series starting next week.

Foakes performed superbly over five Tests in India earlier this year but has grown accustomed to being omitted on a regular basis.

Smith has already played two one-day internationals and will now have the opportunity to advance a career which has always looked destined to place him among the best players in the country.

He was joined in the England squad by Surrey team-mates Ollie Pope and Dan Lawrence, the latter as cover, and paceman Gus Atkinson, who could make his Test debut. Their county are used to coping with international calls but even this might stretch their bid for a hat-trick of Championship titles.

Surrey had gone into last week’s match at New Road with their lead at the top of Division One reduced to two points after an innings and 278 run pounding by Hampshire in May.

They had beaten Worcestershire by 281 runs when the sides met at The Oval and, having been sent in, owed Dominic Sibley (76) and Smith (86) for making early progress against a makeshift attack.

Taking centre stage, though, was Lawrence, dominating a fifth-wicket stand worth 129 with Foakes (52). It was when he was joined by last man Dan Worrall that Lawrence went into overdrive, smashing five successive sixes in an over from off-spinner Shoaib Bashir which cost 38 – equalling the world record for the most expensive over. Happily for Bashir, who grew up playing his cricket in Surrey for Guildford and the county academy, his place in the record books lasted just two days.

Lawrence’s 175, which took 223 balls, saw Surrey to 490, Worcestershire then being dismissed for 212 despite the early resistance of opener Jake Libby (77). Lawrence captured three wickets and there was a trio of victims for seamer James Taylor on his return from two stress fractures for the back.

Rory Burns imposed the follow-on, this time the hosts making 273 through Gareth Roderick (63), Kashif Ali (66) and Adam Hose (64), Jordan Clark’s five for 65 ensuring victory by an innings and seven runs. Essex’s draw with Durham saw them lose ground.

Surrey revert to T20 mode for the next two weeks, starting with the visit of neighbours Middlesex on Friday and followed by a clash with Kent at The Oval on Sunday afternoon. They lead Vitality Blast South Group by a point from last year’s winners Somerset. With Australian duo Sean Abbott and Spencer Johnson having returned home, Surrey will hope to welcome back Sam Curran, Will Jacks, Reece Topley and Chris Jordan, who were part of the England squad which reached the World Cup semi-final in the Caribbean.

Surrey’s upcoming Vitality Blast games: July 5: Middlesex (H); July 7: Kent (H); July 12: Somerset (A); July 14: Essex (A); July 18: Hampshire (H); July 19: Kent (A).

By Richard Spiller