London: England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who hasn't played Test cricket for over a year, took a step back on the way to international recognition with a wicket for Lancashire on the opening day of the 2008 County Championship on Wednesday.
In a First Division match against Surrey at The Oval, pace bowler Flintoff, who underwent a fourth operation on his left ankle in the close season, removed home opener Scott Newman.
When bad light ended the day's play Flintoff, whose performance was watched by England national selector Geoff Miller, had taken one for 24 from 10.3 overs.
However neither Flintoff nor the rest of the Lancashire attack could dismiss Mark Ramprakash.
The former England batsman started the day needing just three more centuries to get to a 100 hundreds in first-class cricket and he wasted little time reaching No 98 by scoring an unbeaten 102, reaching three figures in 164 balls with 17 fours.
At stumps Surrey were 242 for two with captain Mark Butcher, another ex-England batsman, 80 not out.
Elsewhere in the First Division, New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond marked his Hampshire debut with seven wickets as champions Sussex were bowled out for 332 at the Rose Bowl.
Bond, who won't be able to take part in New Zealand's Test tour of England starting next month after playing in the rebel Indian Cricket League, showed his compatriots what they'd be missing with seven for 66 in 19.1 overs.
But former Zimbabwe batsman Murray Goodwin, a key figure in Sussex's recent title wins, made 121 and Matt Prior, recently dropped as England's wicket-keeper, 62. Hampshire, now minus Shane Warne, closed on four for one.
Darren Pattinson, made an immediate impact on his Nottinghamshire debut with five for 22 as Kent were bowled out for 162 at Canterbury.
Pace bowler Pattinson knows a thing or two about dramatic debut. Last year he took four for 87 for Victoria against South Australia in his first appearance in Australia's Sheffield Shield.
Pattinson, who was plucked out of Melbourne club cricket after injuries depleted the Victoria attack, was born in the northern English port town of Grimsby and so does not qualify as an overseas player.
Owais Shah, unlucky not to get a chance in England's side during their tour of New Zealand earlier this year, did his best to remind the selectors of his class with 116 for Middlesex in their Second Division match at Grace Road away to Leicestershire.
Meanwhile former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener made 72 not out as Northamptonshire were bowled out for 280 against Essex at Chelmsford.
England's Ashes-winning quick Simon Jones, looking to revive his career after injury take one for two in three overs on debut for Worcestershire as Warwickshire collapsed to 39 for three in the Midlands derby at Edgbaston.
Earlier, Warwickshire were dismissed for 249, Johannesburg-born opener Stephen Moore carrying his bat for 109.
Australian batsman Marcus North scored 87 in Gloucestershire's 216 for six after English seamer Steve Kirby helped bowl out Derbyshire for 124 with four for 59 at Bristol.