RICHARD Kaufman hit a superb century as Oxfordshire enjoyed the better of the opening day against Shropshire.

The classy batsman scored 113 off 195 balls, including 16 fours, as the hosts scored

334-8 in their Western Division clash at Banbury.

In reply, Shropshire had reached 51-2 at the close.

After Oxon chose to bat, stand-in skipper Harry Smith was the first to fall, caught behind by Ryan Lockley off Ben Roberts for five.

Shabaaz Alam, back in the Oxfordshire three-day side for the first time in five years, justified his selection, dominating a second-wicket partnership with Jordan Garrett.

The latter was caught and bowled by Ross Aucott for six, before Alam went on to pass his half-century before falling to Sam Ellis, caught by Jack Twigger for 54.

Kaufman and Tom Cosford put on 60 for the fourth wicket, before Cosford was stumped by Lockley off Sam Whitney’s bowling for 33.

Two partnerships of more than 50 put Oxfordshire on top.

Kaufman and Olly Clarke shared 76 before the latter was trapped lbw by Jack Edwards for 24.

Gareth Andrew was then the next to go for 39, which ended a 73-run stand with Kaufman, who fell a run later for a superb 113.

Harvey Eltham was out lbw to Ellis for two, before a quickfire partnership of 42 from Callum Russell and Russell White took Oxon to 334-8 from their 90 overs.

Visiting captain Joe Carrasco went on the attack at the beginning of Shropshire’s reply, scoring 30 of the 37 runs when opening partner Alex Phillipps was trapped lbw by Andrew.

Andrew then caught Will Parton off Joe Butcher’s bowling as Oxon reduced their rivals to 42-2.

They ended on 51-2, giving the hosts the advantage heading into the second of three days.