Surrey settle for a draw
Run chase halted following mid-afternoon collapse
Last Updated: 19/05/12 7:18pm
A top-class contest did not have the finish it deserved at the Kia Oval as Surrey settled for a draw in their LV= County Championship Division One match against Somerset.
Needing 305 to win from 85 overs, after taking the last three Somerset second-innings wickets at the start of the day, Surrey reached a promising 96-1 before a mid-afternoon collapse to 148-6 scuppered their realistic hopes of success as they eventually ended on 239-7.
Steven Davies fell early in Surrey's second innings, chopping on against South African Test fast bowler Vernon Philander on four, but both Jason Roy and Jacques Rudolph rode some good fortune against the seaming ball to take the total to 66-1 at lunch with some sparkling strokes.
South African left-hander Rudolph, who had put on 89 with Roy, fell for 45 when he advanced down the pitch to left-arm spinner George Dockrell but was beaten in the flight and could only drag his attempted lofted straight drive to a wide deep mid-wicket, where Arul Suppiah took the catch.
At tea, however, with Rory Hamilton-Brown and Gareth Batty midway through a determined seventh wicket partnership that was to reach a match-saving 71 in 34 overs, Surrey's supporters still had hopes of a last session charge to victory with their side on 184-6 and with only another 121 required from 36 overs.
But Philander and outstanding young Ireland international Dockrell conceded only 12 runs from the first eight overs after tea and it soon became obvious Hamilton-Brown and Batty had decided that risking defeat to try to win was not a tactic they wanted to pursue.
Stuart Meaker enhanced his England credentials by taking 5-42 as Surrey fought back against Somerset on day three of the LV= County Championship Division One clash at the Oval.
When bad light intervened for the final time, with Somerset on 154-7, the visitors led by 278 with three wickets intact and a fascinating final day in store.
Resuming on 286-6 at the start of day three, Surrey avoided the follow-on and mustered 388 all out thanks to Tom Maynard's 89 and useful contribution from lower-order duo Jon Lewis (42) and Gareth Batty (36).
The lower-order resistance saw Somerset take a lead of 124 into the second innings, however they swiftly crashed to 30-3 as Meaker and Lewis exploited seam-friendly conditions.
The in-form Nick Compton rallied for the visitors to reach 50, however Meaker returned to wreak further damage in his second spell to give Surrey hope.
He removed Craig Kieswetter (43), Peter Trego (4) and Craig Meschede (10) in quick succession before bad light forced the players off for a final time.
Steven Davies hit a century as Surrey closed day two on 286-6 in reply to Somerset's 512-9 declared at the Oval, needing another 77 to avoid the follow-on.
Davies shared a 122-run stand with former Somerset all-rounder Zander de Bruyn for the third wicket before Surrey were pegged back from 188-2 to 227-6.
Spinner George Dockrell (1-67) removed Davies for 104, South African seamer Vernon Philander (3-66) followed up with the scalps of De Bruyn (52) and Hamilton-Brown (0) in successive overs and medium pacer Peter Trego (1-48) accounted for Chris Jordan (8).
But Somerset failed to press home their advantage as seventh-wicket duo Tom Maynard (63no) and Gareth Batty (18no) saw Surrey through the final 20 overs before the close without further loss.
Earlier, Somerset had extended their first innings from an overnight 441-5 to a pre-lunch declaration with the final pair, the Overton twins Craig (4no) and Jamie (34no), at the crease.
Arul Suppiah and James Hildreth both made centuries as Somerset completely dominated day one against Surrey at the Oval.
The visitors made the most of a warm day and a sublime pitch to reach 441-5, with top-scorer Hildreth going three overs from stumps for a hugely impressive 120.
The stylish 27-year-old had notched the 26th hundred of his first-class career from 117 balls, and with 14 fours, to move Somerset within touching distance of 463 all out - their record total at the south London venue.
Somerset openers Alex Barrow and Suppiah earlier made first use of the helpful conditions, posting 63 for the first wicket in a little more than 14 overs.
Nick Compton and Suppiah added 100 in just over 23 overs as Suppiah posted his first century of the summer with a swept four against Gareth Batty for the 17th boundary of his stay.
Somerset upped their already impressive tempo even further when Hildreth teamed up with England's Twenty20 keeper Craig Kieswetter after tea.
After the pair added 108 in 22.2 overs Kieswetter, on 49, worked across the line and off balance to Jon Lewis to go leg before 11 overs from the close.
Hildreth's three-hour stay ended controversially and in fading light when umpire Jesty upheld de Bruyn's appeal for lbw only 19 balls before the close.