Yorkshire 171 for 1 (Marsh 77*, Kohler-Cadmore 77) trail Surrey 592 (Sangakkara 164, Stoneman 131, Foakes 110, Burns 75) by 492 runs
An autumnal chill blew through The Oval, even as the sun shone and the pitch played true. There are things still to be decided in the Championship but they will be decided in their own good time. As Somerset's rally continued in the west country, Yorkshire fans may have begun to study the table in a little more detail - though they could take some solace from a century stand from their newly minted opening partnership as they began the long climb in pursuit of Surrey's first-innings 592.
It was May 2012 when Yorkshire last began an innings without one of Adam Lyth or Alex Lees taking guard (Joe Root and Joe Sayers, for the record). With Lees having dropped down to No. 3 in Yorkshire's last outing and Lyth absent here due to the birth of his daughter, Tom Kohler-Cadmore was given the chance to step in alongside the experienced Australian Shaun Marsh. He duly compiled his first Championship half-century for Yorkshire since moving from Worcestershire in mid-summer.
Kohler-Cadmore has already built a reputation as a buccaneering white-ball batsman but this was a different kind of test, one centring on how hard he could concentrate rather than how hard he can hit. Yorkshire must mount a substantial response if they are to avoid being dropped into the bottom two at the end of this round (Uxbridge's poor drainage may also help in that regard) and a partnership of 162 between Kohler-Cadmore and Marsh provided something to keep out the cold.
Although this was Kohler-Cadmore's first innings as an opener in first-class cricket, it is a position he views himself as ready to fill. His only regret was in not being able to go out again and continue in the morning, after "slashing at a wide one" and being caught at point five overs from the close. "It's something that I want to do and I've been lucky enough to get the opportunity this week, with Adam having his baby girl," he said. "So it was nice to get the nod and put a good stand on with Shaun.
"I think a lot of people look at your red-ball stuff because they see white ball as kind of, well, the way I play, you come off or not. Whereas red ball, you have to really work hard, you can't go out and try and hit every ball for four - though I'd like to. It's about building your innings and setting up the game, which for us was getting to the close with as few wickets down as possible."
With England's national selector, James Whitaker, watching on, it was a timely display of patience and technique from Kohler-Cadmore. There are a plethora of England squads to pick these days, including the Lions and Performance Programme, and Whitaker may have made a note in his black book. He would doubtless have enjoyed the performance of another young England candidate in the morning, too, as Ben Foakes recorded his first Championship hundred of the season.
Foakes has been tipped as the likely understudy for Jonny Bairstow in England's Ashes party and, with a first-class average above 40, he could also provide competition for a batting spot. A princely straight drive in the morning welcomed Tim Bresnan into the attack and he went on to complete a century that was both unobtrusive - a good quality for a wicketkeeper - and fluent, slipstreaming the outgoing great, Kumar Sangakkara, as Surrey piled up the runs.
Being unobtrusive is more straightforward when Sangakkara is batting at the other end, of course. This was the seventh hundred of what is to be his final first-class season, as he popped back in from a few weeks at the Caribbean Premier League (where he was the second-leading scorer) to resume filling his Championship boots.
For Surrey, the summer of Sanga has been both richly rewarding and slightly underwhelming. When they beat Warwickshire by an innings in the first round of the Championship (Sangakkara contributing a modest 71), Surrey were touted as potential champions. They have not won a four-day game since.
That is reflective of Surrey's bowling, more than anything else. Their two leading wicket-takers - Tom Curran (away with England) and Mark Footitt (who left in mid-season for Notts) - are not playing here and, as this match has so far showed, The Oval can produce surfaces that swiftly reduces an attack to a defence. This will be their tenth draw if they cannot convert scoreboard pressure into the currency of 20 wickets.
Sangakkara, in his final first-class season, has done everything possible to leave Surrey fans wanting more. Yorkshire will probably be pleased to see the back of him, however. In three innings against them this season, Sangakkara has made scores of 121, 180 not out and 164. Those innings have come while facing three different coloured projectiles: pink, white and red. Yorkshire do not like to hand over candy so readily.
His stand with Foakes yielded 258 as Yorkshire's bowling creaked - at least until Jack Brooks produced some welcome zip during a four-wicket spell. That and the youthful promise of Kohler-Cadmore's 78 just about kept the visitors from seizing up.
It is barely 12 months since Yorkshire were battling out for a third title in succession, a three-way tug-of-war that also featured Middlesex and Somerset. Those three teams are now locked in a battle to avoid joining Warwickshire (most likely) in relegation to Division Two. Winter is coming for someone.