Surrey settle for draw
A top-class contest did not have the finish it perhaps deserved at the Kia Oval as Surrey eventually decided to bat it out for a draw in their LV= County Championship Division One match against Somerset.
Needing 305 to win from 85 overs, after taking the last three Somerset second-innings wickets inside the first 45 minutes of the final day, Surrey reached a promising 96 for one before a mid-afternoon collapse to 148 for six scuppered their realistic hopes of reaching that target. They ended up on 239 for seven.
At tea, however, with Rory Hamilton-Brown and Gareth Batty midway through a determined seventh-wicket partnership that was to reach a match-saving 71 in 34 overs, Surrey’s supporters still had hopes of a last-session charge to victory with their side on 184 for six and with only another 121 required from 36 overs.
But, to defensive fields, South African Test paceman Vernon Philander and outstanding young Ireland left-arm spinner George Dockrell conceded only 12 runs from the first eight overs after tea and soon it became obvious that Hamilton-Brown and Batty had decided that risking defeat to try to win was not a tactic they wanted to pursue.
At 219, Batty was bowled by Dockrell for 33, trying to cut, leaving Somerset 11.4 more overs to take the last three Surrey wickets.
But Hamilton-Brown, who finished on 70 not out from 161 balls, and his new partner Jon Lewis saw out time with few alarms – even though Somerset were able to take a second new ball for the last five overs of the match – and Surrey ended up still 66 runs away from their target. Dockrell took 4-89 from 32 overs.
Somerset had resumed on 154 for seven, 278 ahead, and Philander was the first to go for five when he hit Stuart Meaker straight to short extra cover. Fast bowler Meaker, who already had five wickets to his name in the innings before the start of play, then clean bowled both Overton twins, Craig and Jamie, in the space of three balls to finish with a career-best 8-52.
Steven Davies fell early in Surrey’s second innings, chopping on against Philander, but both Jason Roy and Jacques Rudolph rode some good fortune against the seaming ball to take the total to 66 for one at lunch with some sparkling strokes.
Neither Roy or Rudolph were afraid to hit over the top, especially against Dockrell, but after the former - who made 41 - had been caught at short-leg off one which bounced and turned from the 19-year-old, the Surrey charge stuttered to a halt.
South African left-hander Rudolph, who had put on 89 with Roy, fell for 45 when he advanced down the pitch to Dockrell but was beaten in the flight and could only drag his attempted lofted straight-drive to deep midwicket where Arul Suppiah took the catch.
Later in that same over, a brilliant tumbling catch at deep square-leg by Craig Meschede sent back Zander de Bruyn, and suddenly Surrey were 103 for four. Meschede hurt his shoulder in taking the low catch and had to leave the field for treatment.
Peter Trego then won leg before appeals to remove both Tom Maynard and Chris Jordan with off-cutters, but – in the end – the stand between Hamilton-Brown and Batty denied the visitors. Somerset took 11 points from the match, and Surrey 10.