Multiple starts were made from Hampshire's top order as they reached 222-7 at the end of day one at the Oval.
James Vince, playing just his third Championship fixture of the season, unleashed some trademark cover drives to make 47 and Ian Holland's 51 were the highlights on a day that lost the first session due to heavy mid morning rain.
Despite delaying play until 1:10pm, Vince elected to contest the toss and had no hesitation in batting having won it.
Openers Ian Holland and Felix Organ, both of whom made maiden first-class centuries in July, justified his decision by negotiating the new ball, though not without a number of alarms.
It was Organ (26) who was first to go, caught by Foakes off Jordan Clark with the score at 73. Vince was immediately in the groove, smiting three glorious fours off Morkel in the 27th over.
At the other end, Holland appeared to have settled after his early sketchiness and raised his 50 with his seventh boundary and at 110-1, Hampshire were sitting pretty.
However, Rikki Clarke changed the course of the afternoon with two wickets in five balls, trapping Holland in front for 51 before sending Sam Northeast packing for just six, meaning Hampshire were 116-3 at tea.
Rilee Rossouw came out bristling with aggression, but after striking Rikki Clarke for successive boundaries he became the veteran seamer’s third victim, hitting another drive into the midriff of Mark Stoneman at cover.
Vince, dropped at slip on 40, didn’t make the most of the reprieve, Morkel extracting revenge for his earlier punishment, though the Hampshire skipper will reflect it was a ball he should have left alone.
The floodlights were soon on and runs slowed to a trickle before bad light intervened with more than 18 overs remaining.
Ten overs were lost before the players before in bright sunshine, allowing Rikki Clarke to claim a fourth victim, pinning Liam Dawson plumb LBW.
And his five-for was completed when Aneurin Donald (32) nicked one through to Foakes, giving the stand-in skipper his third catch of the day.
Hampshire’s seamers enjoyed themselves with bat and ball as the visitors edged ahead of hosts Surrey on day two at the Oval.
Ryan Stevenson scored a maiden first-class 50 adding 114 for the ninth wicket with Kyle Abbott, who top scored with 72.
It meant Hampshire rallied from their overnight score of 222-7 to total 367 – this despite Rikki Clarke adding two more victims to his first day five-for to finish with 7-74.
Then, on a day when 22 more overs were lost to the weather, Fidel Edwards took two wickets with the new ball in the final session to leave Surrey 109-2, 258 runs behind.
Surrey were looking to wrap up Hampshire’s first innings quickly after Rikki Clarke’s five wicket-haul on day one.
The veteran all-rounder should have had a sixth when he found the edge of Lewis McManus’ bat, but Scott Borthwick shelled a regulation catch at second slip.
The drop wasn’t costly however as in Clarke’s next over, the diminutive wicketkeeper pulled a rank long hop straight into the hands of Mark Stoneman at mid-wicket.
At 234-8 Surrey would have expected to be batting before lunch, but they had reckoned without ninth-wicket pair Abbott and Stevenson.
Aided by some wayward Surrey bowling the pair played positively, hitting England seamer Sam Curran for five fours in two overs with the second new ball.
Abbott plundered 10 fours in reaching 50 in just 67 balls, while Stevenson eased beyond his previous first-class carer best of 30.
Twenty minutes were lost to rain which returned five minutes before lunch but by then the pair had added 93.
The lunchtime deluge delayed the restart until 3;20, but the duo picked up where they had left off to raise the century stand.
And soon after Stevenson reached a superb maiden first-class 50 from 90 balls complete with seven fours.
Clarke returned to trap him LBW for 51, but by the time Abbott was last man out caught in the deep a fourth batting point had been secured.
Fidel Edwards might have struck with the second ball of Surrey’s reply had Liam Dawson clung on to Stoneman’s flashing drive which flew over his fingertips at second slip.
The former West Indies Test quick soon had a wicket to his name though, striking in his third over with a lifting ball which Ryan Patel edged through to McManus.
Curran was promoted to No 3 because of his impending call-up to the England squad for the third Ashes Test, but he didn’t much time in the middle. Edwards, who had by this stage switched to the Pavilion end banged in a short one which Curran hooked straight down the throat of Stevenson at deep square.
Stoneman (52 not out) settled down to unleash some sweet cover drives to reach 50 for the fifth time in the Championship this season, sharing an unbroken stand of 69 for the third wicket with Borthwick in the process
But with Liam Dawson already extracting some turn from the surface, Surrey face another testing day tomorrow.
Hampshire's bowling attack battled hard on a tough third day of their Specsavers County Championship clash against Surrey at the Oval.
Ollie Pope, who made a high-class 176 not out, a Scott Borthwick hundred and 90 from Aaron Finch helped Surrey finish the day on 480 for five with a lead of 123,
With a day to go, Pope's 188-run partnership in 46 overs with Finch was instrumental in Surrey composing a strong first-innings total,
Resuming on 109 for 2, Mark Stoneman and Borthwick progressed their third wicket partnership to 93 before Stoneman became Fidel Edwards’ 450th first-class wicket - caught at gully for 63.
Borthwick brought up a 99-ball half-century with two consecutive fours while Pope, who announced himself by drilling through backward point for four, rotated the strike en route to a 106-ball fifty.
Prior to the final hour, the only sweep shot of note came when Aneurin Donald, in at short leg, was forced to leave the field after being struck on the helmet by Borthwick.
Borthwick's first championship hundred since April 2017 came off 186 balls with eleven fours but, just moments later, the former Durham man was brilliantly caught for exactly 100 low down at leg slip by Sam Northeast to make it 265 for 4.
Finch set out his stall by drivingfirst through cover and then straight down the ground for successive boundaries before both he and Pope opted for accumulation.
Pope moved to his seventh first-class hundred, which came off 162 balls, immediately after tea and then a compelling contest between Dawson and Finch ensued - the slow left-armer giving the Australian limited-overs captain nothing he could hit through the off-side.
Pope struck just three fours in moving from 100 to his 150, which came off 260 balls with 13 boundaries, while Finch eventually departed for 90, punching Ryan Stevenson to Felix Organ at short-midwicket ten overs from the close.
Pope was joined by Ben Foakes (12 not out) and they have so far added an unbroken 37 for the sixth wicket.
Liam Dawson’s fourth half-century of the season steered Hampshire to the safety of a draw on the final day of their County Championship fixture with hosts Surrey at the Oval.
The visitors looked in trouble after Amar Virdi’s three wickets reduced them to 175-5 shortly before tea, still 37 away from an innings defeat.
But, Dawson (65 not out), who got scored a century against the south London side in the Royal London Cup earlier in the season, proved their nemesis again, batting for two hours to take them to 253-5 in company with debutant Harry Came (23 not out) as they avoided defeat.
Earlier, Ollie Pope had completed a maiden County Championship double century to set up the hosts’ morning declaration, before hot-footing it to Headingly as England cover for possible concussion victim Jason Roy.
Surrey began the day 123 ahead and in need of quick runs.
Skipper Ben Foakes was bowled through the gate before the go button could be pressed, but Pope continued serenely onto his double hundred from 323 balls with 19 fours.
Clarke hoisted Dawson for a huge straight six to provide the necessary acceleration before being adjudged LBW to Fidel Edwards (5-125), though replays suggested the ball would have missed leg-stump.
The declaration came soon afterwards at 579-7 with Pope 221 not out.
This left Hampshire 212 in arrears and with 40 minutes to negotiate before lunch.
The hosts spurned a chance when Ryan Patel dropped Felix Organ at third slip when he’d made just eight, but they made the breakthrough with the last ball before the interval, Virdi having Ian Holland caught down the leg-side by Foakes.
There was more encouragement soon after the resumption when Clarke pinned England hopeful James Vince in front for just a single to leave Hampshire 39-2.
It was clear the visitors’ intent was to play positively in a bid to wipe out their arrears and get in front. However, Sam Northeast took that intention to extreme lengths with a string of streaky shots down through third man. And ultimately it proved his undoing when he slashed one from Morne Morkel to Scott Borthwick at slip.
Organ (77) meanwhile, was making the most of his earlier reprieve, racing to 50 in 55 balls with a six and eight fours.
The 20-year-old looked increasingly confident, but with a second century in as many matches beckoning, he like Northeast contributed to his own downfall, giving Virdi the charge and missing the ball to be stumped by Foakes.
The same combination would account for Rilee Rossouw before the end of the session, though the South African should probably reflect on why he was playing a needless sweep shot so close to an interval.
Hampshire were wobbling, but Dawson dug in, finding an ally in Came, who showed great composure or aa man making his first appearance six days shy of his 21st birthday as concussion replacement for Aneurin Donald, injured in the field on day three.
Dawson’s 50 came 63 balls to wipe out the arrears and the pair shared a half-century stand in the game’s dying embers.