Meaker gives Surrey hope

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Steven Davies

Steven Davies glides past short-leg in the half-century that helped earn Surrey a first-innings lead of 75 at Guildford

Stuart Meaker claimed two late scalps to give Surrey an outside chance of forcing a victory in their LV= County Championship clash with Division Two leaders Sussex at Guildford.

Trailing by 75 after the first innings, Sussex openers Chris Nash and Ed Joyce knocked 38 off the arrears without too much trouble, before Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown introduced Meaker in the eighth over.

In his second over he trapped Nash leg before with a nip-backer and three balls later a delivery that was full and straight proved too good for nightwatchman Monty Panesar, who collected his sixth duck in his last 15 championship innings.

Sussex closed on 39 for two but, with a day to go on a pitch showing little sign of wear after a second-day washout, a draw still seems the likely outcome.

Earlier, Sussex’s overseas bowler Yasir Arafat took 5-81 – his best figures for the county for more than four years.

The Pakistani picked up the key wickets of Mark Ramprakash and skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown, for 21 and 22 respectively, before returning after tea with the second new ball to sweep away Surrey’s tail.

It was a good morning for the leaders as they picked up four wickets to halt Surrey’s charge.

Corey Collymore ended a first-wicket stand of 67 when Arun Harinath gloved his lifter to gully and Will Adkin claimed his maiden first-class victim when Tom Lancefield edged to the same man.

Ramprakash looked well set until he played on and Hamilton-Brown hooked to midwicket, but Surrey rallied after lunch during a stand of 89 between Steven Davies and Stewart Walters.

The former rode his luck in being dropped on 15 and 23, but his aggressive strokeplay forced Sussex onto the defensive until he was leg before to Panesar’s arm ball.

His 62 was his eighth half-century of the season and took him to within 16 of 1,000 first-class runs for the summer.

Panesar also picked up Walters for 45, but Chris Tremlett counter-attacked by hitting the former England bowler and spin-twin Ollie Rayner for sixes.

However, Arafat returned and dragged Sussex back into contention with three wickets in as many overs.

Gareth Batty mistimed a hook to deep midwicket, while Rayner snapped up Tremlett and Jade Dernbach with low catches at second slip.

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