Surrey scent win despite Wells' defiance
Stuart Meaker claimed three wickets to take Surrey to the brink of victory against Sussex at the Kia Oval.
The 23-year-old paceman, today named in the England Performance Squad for the first time, removed Ed Joyce and Murray Goodwin with the new ball after Sussex had been set 342 to win.
He then returned to the attack to dismiss Ben Brown but Surrey’s hopes of a three-day win were thwarted by Luke Wells.
The left-hander made a composed unbeaten 96 and when bad light stopped play with five overs remaining Sussex were hanging in there on 240 for eight.
Sussex needed a new fourth-innings record score against Surrey to achieve victory and Chris Nash started their pursuit confidently enough with a flurry of boundaries before he played on to give home debutant Jon Lewis his 800th first-class wicket.
Joyce played around a ball that was full and straight to give Meaker his first success and before lunch Goodwin had been trapped in front for a duck, beaten for pace by the same bowler.
Wells and skipper Michael Yardy hinted at a recovery before the latter was leg before to Jade Dernbach, having not been dismissed by that method once last season.
Joe Gatting was dropped by Tom Maynard on seven and it threatened to be an expensive miss when Sussex’s number six, who top-scored with an unbeaten 72 in his side’s first innings, added 52 for the fifth wicket with Wells.
By reaching 17, Wells passed 1,000 first-class runs for Sussex and he soon brought up a fluent half-century - the fourth of his career.
However, the remainder of the side struggled to give him sustained support.
After Gatting had fallen to Gareth Batty, Brown was leg before half-forward when Meaker returned to the attack and Naveed Arif Gondal collected a pair when he fended a short ball from Dernbach into the leg side.
Amjad Khan defied Surrey for 16 overs before driving to mid-off to give Batty his second wicket, while James Anyon put on 27 with Wells, who has so far batted for just over five hours, faced 224 balls and hit 10 fours.
Anyon had earlier picked up his second five-wicket haul for Sussex as Surrey’s last two wickets added 23 runs before they were bowled out for 273 in their second innings.
Lewis was caught on the third man boundary for 23 to give Anyon figures of 5-79 while Arif picked up his sixth wicket of the match when Meaker was well held at slip trying to cut a ball that was too close to him.