Sussex unable to force victory
Surrey's LV= County Championship clash with Division One neighbours Sussex ended in stalemate after light showers and contrasting knocks from Graeme Smith, Vikram Solanki and Gary Wilson thwarted hopes of an away win at the Kia Oval.
Surrey had reached 308 for five - for a lead of 133 - when the sides shook hands on a draw shortly before 5pm with Surrey claiming eight points to the nine of Sussex. Solanki's 83 was the most significant contribution.
Having scored two and three in his first two knocks as Surrey captain, Graeme Smith, the South Africa skipper, made amends with a fluent 54-ball fifty.
He and first-innings century-maker Gary Wilson added 107 for the second wicket in 26 overs and frustrated a Sussex attack straining to force a fourth-day win.
The Proteas legend looked totally untroubled until Monty Panesar found purchase from the bowlers' footmarks. Leaning back to cut, Smith was undone and cramped by the turn and bounce as he played on for 67 to make it 116 for two.
After surviving a concerted lbw appeal from Panesar when on 38, Wilson went on to reach his half-century with a brace of boundaries off the same bowler.
The Irishman joined up with Solanki to add an attractive 66 inside 20 overs for the third wicket that all but had Sussex skipper Ed Joyce conceding defeat in his pursuit of victory.
Hampered by the loss of seamer Steve Magoffin through injury, Joyce spread his field to all parts and introduced part-time spin at both ends in the shape of Luke Wells and Chris Nash.
The ploy led to a surprise breakthrough for Nash who dived to his right to claim a sharp return catch from a firm drive by Wilson.
At 182 for three, Surrey were only seven runs ahead with seven wickets in hand, but any lingering hopes of a Sussex win were well and truly snuffed out by fourth-wicket partners Solanki and Zander de Bruyn.
Solanki, the former Worcestershire batsman, marked his 299th first-class match with a flowing 99-ball fifty containing six boundaries.
Off-spinner Wells surprisingly accounted for de Bruyn, lbw swishing across the line, and Solanki, who pulled a long-hop straight to midwicket, but it mattered little, with the inevitable confirmed soon after a brief stoppage for rain.