What goes around comes around in cricket, so to blame the weather for a failure to win this match would be folly. But what the hell, if it hadn't rained on Wednesday we'd have had a mighty fine chance of beating a very good Sussex side.
The sedate beginning to the day, where Zander de Bruyn deservedly went to his first hundred of the season supported by Zafar Ansari, belied what was to come. Once that pair were dismissed, for 111 and 13 respectively, the fireworks began. Chris Tremlett and Tim Linley put together a ninth wicket partnership worth 74 in only seven overs. Tremlett registered his second fifty for Surrey from only 29 balls, in the process taking Surrey to maximum batting points with a ball to spare, hitting Steve Magoffin for consecutive sixes. All in all he took the leading wicket taker in County Cricket for four sixes and 30 runs in just three overs. It was an indicator of just how flat the pitch had become, and just what a mammoth task Surrey would have to bowl out an experienced Sussex batting lineup in less than three sessions.
Once Tremlett was dismissed to give Chris Jordan his third wicket Vikram Solanki called time on the innings giving Surrey a lead of 161 over their opponents. Chris Nash and Luke Wells had just under an hour to bat before lunch and for Surrey to have any hope of winning they needed the new ball to do some damage. It didn't.
Wells and Nash put on a century partnership to all-but secure the draw. A few balls went past the edge and Wells edged a number of deliveries, but nothing went to hand. It was possibly not the best new ball bowling Surrey have ever indulged in, but in truth getting ten wickets on such a docile surface would always been a very tough ask for any attack. Ansari did wheedle out two wickets and conceded just 49 runs from his 20 overs. He has, in bowling 32 overs in this game, matched the haul of wickets Gary Keedy managed in 126, and gave fewer runs away in the process. It's hard to see how Keedy plays Championship cricket for us again this year aside from as injury cover.
The captains shook hands on a draw before 5pm after Nash moved to his first Championship hundred of 2013. We have now drawn six of eight games this year and needless to say we are still without a win at the halfway point. On a positive note our haul of 11 points from this game did lift us above Somerset but just as with Durham last year, you have to think they are too good a side to remain in the bottom two. As are we for that matter.
Aside from this game ending in another draw, there are signs that a corner may have been turned. It was another flat pitch but our batsmen again showed a lot of resilience. And in light of the flatness of the pitch the bowlers must be praised for knocking over Sussex for under 300 on day two. We've strung together three strong days of Championship cricket for the first time this season and that is significant. The players have a few days off before we play the form team, Yorkshire at Headingley starting on Friday. For that game we'll welcome back one Kevin Pietersen. If a corner has been turned, next week's game will be a cracker.
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