Assured Ansari denies Warwickshire
Warwickshire’s Division One title hopes were blunted by a flat pitch and stubborn batting for the second time this season as Surrey escaped with a draw in the LV= County Championship game at Edgbaston.
Paul Horton’s unbeaten century enabled Lancashire to hang on through four sessions in May, and in this match Zafar Ansari performed a similar role as Surrey survived the last day, albeit with 21 overs lost to rain.
Having followed on 285 behind, they relied heavily on Ansari’s powers of concentration in making 83 not out towards a total of 202 for three when Warwickshire called off their victory bid at 5:25pm.
A 20-year-old left-hander making his sixth championship appearance, the Cambridge University student batted for five and half hours in the highest, and longest, innings of his fledgling career.
Warwickshire may have thought he was out when they appealed for a catch at second slip yesterday, but it was measure of his temperament that he was able to push the incident to the back of his mind.
His determination ultimately decided the outcome of a match that Warwickshire dominated from start to finish.
No immediate harm has been done to their championship prospects, other than that Nottinghamshire are now level with them on 135 points, and, for Surrey, the extra three for the draw could be important in terms of staying in the division.
If their side is short of experience in the top-order batting, they had the resolve to deal with anything that Warwickshire could throw at them.
A 45-minute delay at the start of the day was perhaps the first hint things were not destined to go in Jim Troughton’s favour as he juggled the home attack in search of a breakthrough.
The new opening partnership of Ansari and Rory Burns, who were on opposite sides when Cambridge University humbled Surrey last year, is already showing some promise.
At Trent Bridge last week they shared in a stand of 85, with Burns going to a maiden championship half-century, and this time it was his partner who went on to a personal milestone, including a dozen fours, after they had put on 74.
Burns played on to Boyd Rankin for 42 and there was just a glimmer of encouragement for Warwickshire with a couple of wickets for Jeetan Patel after lunch.
With little or no turn to assist him, the New Zealand spinner found some bounce to have Arun Harinath caught behind and then profited from Zander de Bruyn’s ill-judged sweep to deep square-leg.
However, this was where their challenge expired. Jason Roy, after a shaky start, completed the Surrey lockdown with 42 not out towards an unbroken 89 with Ansari.