Surrey secure safety with emphatic win
Off-spinner Gareth Batty led the way with 4-30 as Surrey safeguarded their Division One status for next year, recording an overwhelming 195-run victory over Nottinghamshire in the LV= County Championship clash at the Kia Oval.
With Kevin Pietersen and Murali Kartik taking two apiece, eight wickets fell to spin as Notts subsided to 151 all out. That relegated Worcestershire and Lancashire, a scenario confirmed when last season's champions fell short 109 runs short in an improbable final evening run-chase against Middlesex.
Staying in the top flight was a fine achievement for Surrey, who were rocked by the death of batsman Tom Maynard in late June. That led to Rory Hamilton-Brown taking a break from cricket and passing the captaincy to Batty, who today took a miserly 4-30 from 21 overs, including 12 maidens.
Like in last season’s late promotion charge, Surrey came good towards the end of the campaign to win two of their last three championship games. Their only other victory was in their opening match.
They began well today as the last ball of the first over produced the wicket of Harry Gurney, Nottinghamshire's nightwatchman, who was caught at mid-off without scoring off Tim Linley. Gurney had played out the one over of the innings yesterday.
However, at the beginning of the 15th over, when spin was employed at both ends for the first time, the visitors had advanced to 45 for one.
After helping to add 51 for the second wicket with Neil Edwards, Riki Wessels went lbw for 16 - looking to work Batty into the leg side.
Pietersen’s off-spin was introduced just before lunch and with it came the wicket of Adam Voges, who was caught at silly point for nine to make it 66 for three at the break.
James Taylor, playing back, fell leg before to Batty shortly after the resumption. Six balls later Pietersen struck again when Edwards, playing in the absence of Alex Hales - who left the game after day two to join up with England’s Twenty20 squad - was caught behind for 31.
Chris Read responded by sweeping his first ball firmly for four. Steven Mullaney soon drove Batty through cover with the same degree of determination.
Read, who had been the thorn in Surrey’s side in the first innings, cut Kartik to Zafar Ansari at cover to fall for 17. Batty then trapped Sam Wood in front.
Stuart Meaker returned to draw a line under Mullaney’s innings of 18 with another leg-before decision.
Graeme White, who offered no stroke to his first two deliveries from Batty - both of which came within a whisker of clipping his off stump, was bowled looking to lift the former England man over long-off.
Ben Phillips announced himself by picking Batty up over midwicket for four. But shortly after Phillips despatched Meaker through extra-cover off the back foot for two successive boundaries, Kartik completed the rout by trapping Luke Fletcher in front. Phillips was unbeaten on 20.