Rogers: “We fought hard all through the game.”
Time ran out on Surrey and Somerset at the Kia Oval, with the weather-affected Specsavers County Championship Division One match ending in a draw as Chris Rogers’ team batted through the final session to reach 122 for four.
Zafar Ansari took three for 43 to send back Rogers, Marcus Trescothick and Roelof van der Merwe after Ravi Rampaul had Tom Abell caught in the slips for a duck in the second over.
Somerset were 64 for four but James Hildreth played well under pressure from Surrey’s spinners, Ansari and Gareth Batty, and finished on 40 not out from 64 balls. Peter Trego, with an unbeaten 34 off 35 balls, helped Hildreth to add an unbroken 60 for the fifth wicket.
Somerset had been set a theoretical target of 292 from 42 overs after Surrey, who began their second innings at the start of the day, declared on 181 for eight. Surrey took 13 points from the draw and Somerset 12.
Kumar Sangakkara, adding a fluent 71 from 108 balls to his first innings 171, was the mainstay of a Surrey batting effort which began badly and only really stuttered along after the loss of both openers in the first seven overs.
By lunch Surrey had recovered from 18 for two to reach 103 for three, a lead of 213, with Sangakkara to the fore and with Steven Davies keeping the Sri Lankan company to make 26 in a third wicket stand of 53 in 19 overs.
They lost regular wickets in the afternoon session, despite Sangakkara’s dominance, and could never pull away from a dogged Somerset bowling attack.
Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton struck in the sixth and seventh overs of the day to remove openers Arun Harinath and Rory Burns after Surrey had started their second innings with a 110-run advantage.
Harinath edged Gregory behind on 10 and wicketkeeper Ryan Davies accepted a second catch when a beauty from Overton squared up Burns on six and tickled the edge of his defensive bat.
Davies was stumped off Jack Leach but Sangakkara straight drove Tim Groenewald imperiously for one boundary and later hit Leach’s slow left arm spin over mid wicket for six.
Jason Roy made 19 in a further stand of 38, until being well held in the covers off Leach, and Ansari contributed 14 before Gregory pinned him lbw.
Sangakkara was sixth out, mis-hitting Overton to deep mid on and Surrey declared after losing two more quick wickets, with Tom Curran yorked by Overton and Batty bowled by Gregory.
It was a good final day’s cricket after the first three days had seen Somerset reply with 353 to Surrey’s first innings 463.
Ansari, brought on in the ninth over of the Somerset second innings, had Trescothick held at slip before bowling both Rogers and Van der Merwe. Rogers scored 24 from 62 balls of valuable resistance but Van der Merwe had made just 2 when he had his middle stump uprooted.
Chris Rogers, Somerset’s captain, said: “It was pretty tough out there in the last session and there was a fair bit of rough for their two spinners to use. We needed to get through that final session, and we did. In fact, I thought we fought hard all through the game.
“We gave Kumar Sangakkara four lives in the field across the two innings, which you just can’t do with a world-class player like him, and that was the main difference in the match in my opinion.”
Following the match Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard said: “I am happy with some of the qualities that we have shown during the course of this game. The batting in the first innings was led by Marcus but well supported by Tregs and then lower down by Lewis and Craig. Then in the second innings Hildy has come to the party in a pressure situation. The way that Hildy and Tregs were playing at the end, had the weather not intervened anything could have been possible.
“It just goes to show that whatever surface you play on, if you give yourself an opportunity and you are proactive in the way that you go about things, get settled and put pressure on the opposition, it eliminates those opportunities for the them to get into the game.
“I am delighted with the way that we have played compared to last year, so hats off to the players. However we have dropped or missed 12 opportunities which means the bowlers have created 30 chances to take 20 wickets in this match. At the end of the match I told the players that I will take it this game and say it was a bad one for this sort of thing, which I didn’t see last year. This game is an exception. We were brilliant in the field last year, so this is something that we will continue to work on and make sure that the most we have to create is 22 chances.
” I don’t want to see that many mistakes because if we do we have got no chance of winning cricket matches. We have given Sangakkara 3 chances in this game and he has scored 240 runs and if you take that off the total then we would have won this game. Last year our fielding was sensational but in this game it wasn’t so we will be doing some work on that on Friday and Saturday in readiness for Lancashire.
“You want to win every game but if you can’t you want to take a draw and in a bit of adversity. I thought that it was a good toss to win. We wanted to bat so to come away with a draw is the next best thing.”