Ricky Ponting, batting for the final time in first-class cricket, reached the landmark of 24,000 first-class runs and gave Surrey hope of a draw in their LV= County Championship Division One clash with Nottinghamshire at the Kia Oval.
Ponting, needing 19 runs to achieve the milestone, shared in an unbeaten third-wicket partnership of 97 with Arun Harinath.
The former Australia captain batted for a little more than two hours for 41 runs as Surrey - with eight second-innings wickets intact - cut the deficit to 26 and took the match into its final day when ending on 186 for two. Earlier, Samit Patel made 110 off 200 balls as the visitors posted a total of 410.
With Ponting and Harinath dropping anchor, the latter for 71 overs in an undefeated 69 off 188 deliveries, Surrey boosted their slender chances of avoiding defeat.
Needing 212 to make Nottinghamshire bat again, Surrey openers Harinath and Rory Burns combined for 70 in 22 overs before the latter, who made 38, had his off stump removed by a beauty from Andre Adams.
Vikram Solanki pulled a rare full-toss from Patel for six yet, shortly before tea, Solanki was run out for 11 following a horrendous mix-up with Harinath, who had pushed Harry Gurney into the leg side.
Ponting, applauded to the crease by the Nottinghamshire players, dabbed Ajmal Shahzad down to third man for four to bring the hundred up for Surrey.
Harinath launched Graeme White for a straight six and, four overs later, repeated the dose before cutting the slow left-armer for four to bring up a 130-ball half-century.
After reaching 24,000 first-class runs with a cut single to the sweeper on the cover boundary, Ponting used his feet and drove Patel through mid-off for four.
The penultimate over of the day saw the former Australia captain pull and glance successive boundaries off Gurney, though not before Harinath had dispatched David Hussey through midwicket for four.
Resuming on 360 for six, Nottinghamshire added 50 to their overnight total.
Patel moved to 98 with an on-driven four before reaching his 17th first-class hundred, off 184 balls, with his 14th boundary, which evaded Chris Tremlett's despairing dive at mid-off.
Six overs later, Patel attempted a pull from outside his off stump and skied a catch to backward square-leg off Jade Dernbach, who struck again when White was caught behind without scoring.
Shahzad, who was stuck on his overnight score for 55 minutes, opened his shoulders and lifted Zafar Ansari over long-on for six before presenting the 21-year-old spinner with a return catch.
With Adams picking out Ponting at deep midwicket to hand Dernbach another success, Surrey had six overs to negotiate before lunch.