Relentless Surrey charged back to the summit of the Vitality County Championship, led by Jamie Smith and Kemar Roach.

They beat Warwickshire by nine wickets, just 39 minutes into the fourth and final day, to go top of Division One by 21 points after five of the 14 rounds, as they chase a hat-trick of titles.

Smith’s 155 was the centrepiece of Surrey’s 464, having dismissed the Bears for 343, gaining his side a crucial lead of 121. The 23-year-old, described by director of cricket Alec Stewart as a “joy to watch”, has developed within Surrey’s youth system since he was 12 and it would be no surprise if he was to make his Test debut against West Indies or Sri Lanka in the next few months. His 18 fours and three sixes included strokes of the highest class.

Warwickshire had been pulled back into the match by a three-wicket burst from seamer Craig Miles, giving him five for 43, but in celebrating his final wicket – having Roach caught in the slips – he turned an ankle and could take no further part in the match.

The hosts took advantage, Smith being joined in a ninth-wicket partnership worth 115 with Sean Abbott (50 not out) which proved invaluable. It was a new county best for the ninth wicket against Warwickshire, passing the 107 alliance of Douglas Jardine and Ted Brooks at Edgbaston 98 years ago.

Stout resistance, led by opener Rob Yates (52) and 44 from Ed Barnard – whose maiden century for the county rescued them from 167 for six on day one – threatened to leave Surrey with a difficult chase.

But Australian all-rounder Abbott, making his first appearance of the season for Surrey, removed Barnard for 44 with a magnificent low return catch and opened the way for Roach. The West Indian paceman struggled through the opening stages of the season but rediscovered the sharp swing which has earned him a long international career in returning to his best. Four of his victims were bowled and the other two trapped leg-before to finish with six for 46.

That left Surrey needing just 89 to win, losing skipper Rory Burns for 30 but Dominic Sibley (46 not out) and Ollie Pope (13 not out) saw them to an overwhelming win.

They go straight back into action at The Oval, hosting Worcestershire from Friday.

Surrey have signed Australian speedster Spencer Johnson for the first eight matches of the Vitality Blast.

The 28-year-old from Adelaide will team up with fellow countryman Abbott, both having been among the candidates for the World T20 squad but failing to make the cut.

Johnson has already impressed on English soil, claiming a remarkable three for one in 20 balls for Oval Invincibles in the Hundred last year.

“Surrey have a great squad and I can’t wait to contribute in front of packed crowds again,” he said.

With Sam Curran, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan and Reece Topley all included in the England squad, the squad’s depth will be tested.

By Richard Spiller