Northants settle for draw
Surrey’s LV= County Championship Division Two opener finished in a draw when bad light forced an end to Northamptonshire’s unlikely run-chase seven overs from the scheduled close at an overcast Kia Oval.
The visitors, given two sessions to score 289 in a minimum 66 overs at an asking rate of 4.27 an over, had reached 211 for five - still 77 short when the captains shook hands. Northants took nine points, one more than Surrey.
Having lost opener Stephen Peters lbw to Stuart Meaker with only 18 on the board, the visitors briefly threatened their goal when Mal Loye and Rob White joined forces in an attractive second-wicket stand worth 77.
Former England wrist-spinner Chris Schofield then removed White leg before after he missed an attempted sweep and Loye fell in the same fashion for 52.
Once Meaker bowled David Sales and Alex Wakely - the latter for 43 - with full and fast deliveries in the space of two overs, the visitors appeared happy to settle for a draw which they achieved as Andrew Hall and Niall O’Brien saw them through to the end of play.
Surrey started the day on of 182 for four - a tentative lead of 128 runs.
They soon lost nightwatchman Tim Linley, who was bamboozled and palpably leg-before to the leg-spin of Rob White in the seventh over of the day.
Zander de Bruyn, making his debut after moving from Somerset, posted a maiden half-century for his new club from 137 balls, including six fours, at which point the hosts led by 176.
De Bruyn and fellow Surrey new boy Tom Maynard joined forces in a healthy sixth-wicket stand to add 69 in 15 overs before Maynard went for 40 after having his middle stump plucked out by a Lee Daggett off-cutter that kept low.
Though Northants took the new ball after 88 overs it only served to allow Surrey to accelerate the run-rate, firstly through Schofield and then, as the lunch break and three figures loomed, de Bruyn.
Schofield was harsh on Hall, dispatching the former South Africa all-rounder for two fours and, in his following over, a brace of sixes as the hosts plundered 34 from the last two overs before the break.
Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown declared during the interval, however, leaving de Bruyn nine short of a century after 257 minutes at the crease. He scored eight fours and two maximums, while Schofield’s cameo of 37 not out came off only 23 deliveries.