This year’s first London derby ended in parity as title-chasing Surrey left Lord’s with a hard-earned draw against near neighbours and reigning Specsavers County Champions Middlesex.
The players shook hands on the draw with Middlesex on 92 for two and having turned down the thrills and potential spills of a possible last afternoon run chase.
Despite the batting heroics of Surrey’s Kumar Sangakkara – he hit his 59th and 60th first-class hundreds on the first and third days of the match – it was Middlesex who generally edged events over the four days to bank 13 Division One points, while Surrey headed home with 11.
In pursuit of an unlikely victory target of 242 off 39 overs – at an asking rate of 6.2 an over – Middlesex lost opener Nick Gubbins in the fourth over when, in pulling a short one from Sam Curran, he was adjudged caught behind by Ben Foakes behind the stumps.
Soon after tea Nick Compton pulled a Mark Footitt bouncer down the throat of Sam Curran at long-leg to go for 18 and put paid to any lingering hopes of a late afternoon run chase as the hosts batted out time for their third draw of the campaign.
Surrey’s first casualty of the morning proved an unpopular one with the good smattering of supporters sat in the base of the Grandstand, many of whom had turned up on the fourth day to watch Sangakkara bat with the sun on his back.
The Sri Lanka legend, who had posted his second century of the match and his fourth of the season on day three, added only four to his overnight score when he perished in the sixth over of the final day.
Prodding in defence, the 39-year-old left-hander - who is averaging 98.66 after four championship starts for the Brown Caps - followed a James Franklin leg-cutter and edged low to John Simpson, the Middlesex keeper.
Sam Curran and Foakes then combined to see off the new ball and add 83 for the sixth wicket. Both went to deserved 50s, Foakes from 116 balls, while Curran needed only 88. The stand ended four deliveries before the scheduled lunch break when Curran, pushing forward at one from Ollie Rayner that turned and lifted, feathered to Simpson to depart for 51 and give Rayner his second wicket of the match.
The Middlesex off-spinner bagged a third in the mid-session when he tossed one up above the eyeline of Tom Curran (22) and turned it through the gate to clip the top of middle and leg stumps.
With a lead over 230 and the game seemingly as good as safe, Surrey skipper Gareth Batty departed lbw to a shooting off-cutter from Toby Roland-Jones – who took four for 76 – and a run later, Stuart Meaker was bowled by Dawid Malan, the occasional Middlesex leg-spinner, who skidded one through to clip the top of off stump.
With his side 241 ahead and his partner Foakes high and dry on 67 not out, Surrey’s last man Footitt spooned a catch to mid-wicket to gift Malan a second wicket and leave the hosts with an improbable run-a-ball victory chase that would prove well beyond their compass.
After the game, Kumar Sangakkara's revealed that this will be his final season in first-class cricket. He said: "It felt good to get some runs on a tough pitch in day one and then again in a tight match situation in the second innings.