Essex rescued by Phillips

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Tim Phillips

Tim Phillips struck a vital half-century down the order to help Essex secure a hard-fought draw with Surrey at Whitgift School today

Tim Phillips’ battling half-century ensured Essex’s LV= County Championship clash with Surrey fizzled out into a tame draw on a flat pitch at Whitgift School.

Having secured a first-innings lead of 42, Essex were in real danger of undoing all their good work as they lost six wickets in a shade over two hours of the final day.

At 222 for eight and an overall advantage of 246, the visitors left the door ajar for a dramatic Surrey run chase on the final day.

However, Phillips and Chris Wright came together in a ninth-wicket stand of 71 in 21 overs that helped Essex through to 324 all out and left Surrey with too much to do.

Saturday’s play began in dramatic fashion with the loss of England opener Alastair Cook to only the ninth ball of the final day.

Pushing forward in defence to off-spinner Gareth Batty he nicked one to wicketkeeper Steven Davies having added only two to his overnight 62.

Gareth Batty, on his way to figures of 3-75, then had Matt Walker lbw, while Adam Wheater slog swept the off-spinner straight into the hands of Kevin Pietersen on the ropes at deep midwicket.

To make matters worse, Essex also suffered two run outs when attempting quick singles. James Foster and David Masters fell to direct hits from Yasir Arafat and 12th man Jason Roy respectively.

Surrey sensed half a chance of a last-session run chase and the possibility of pulling off a remarkable win, but their dreams were dashed when the Essex tail wagged.

Phillips dug in for a 114-ball half-century and Wright, with 34, and Maurice Chambers helped add 102 for the last two wickets to ruin any chance of a positive result.

The visitors were finally dismissed shortly before tea, leaving Surrey with a minimum 27 overs to chase an impossible victory target of 367.

Both Rory Hamilton-Brown and Tom Maynard entertained the crowd with their strokeplay in posting 63 in just over 10 overs, before Maynard fell to a spectacular catch by Phillips at mid-on off Chambers.

The sides shook hands on a draw five minutes later with Essex banking nine points to Surrey’s 10.

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