Seven rounds of Championship matches and still no win for Surrey as today's game petered out into another draw, our fifth so far in 2013 to go with two defeats.
Warwickshire faced the task of taking the final three Surrey first innings wickets and then trying to wheedle out another ten in the follow-on. The first half of that task proved remarkably easy as Tremlett, Ponting and Dernbach fell, in that order with two wickets for Keith Barker and one more for Rankin to go with his three last night. That meant Surrey's final eight wickets had fallen for 44 runs on the flattest of flat pitches. Quite remarkable.
That gave Warwickshire most of the final day to try and force a victory with Surrey still more than 350 runs in arrears and under serious pressure. Rory Burns and Arun Harinath began sensibly once again and were approaching a second consecutive 50 partnership when Harinath was caught at slip off the bowling of Jeetan Patel.
That brought Solanki to the crease and he and Burns set about crease occupation while occasionally taking advantage of the space offered by Warwickshire's attacking fields. Boyd Rankin was soon into the attack and troubled the pair with the odd delivery, eventually finding the edge of Solanki's bat and the ball settled into Tim Ambrose's gloves. With the score 112-2 and still plenty of overs left in the day it could have induced a wobble.
Not if the next man in had anything to do with it. Ponting was positive immediately and put together a 50 partnership with Burns as tea approached. With nerves settled, Rikki Clarke produced a fine short delivery to take the glove of Rory Burns and give Ambrose another catch. Burns' 85, although short of the hundred I'm sure he'd have desperately wanted, was another sign of his composure (and talent). Frustratingly though it was another wicket on the stroke of a break in play and would have given Warwickshire a lift going into the final session.
Zander de Bruyn played out 39 balls for his 19 before he was caught at silly point off Jeetan Patel. He had been given a good working over the Warwickshire quicks and looked uncomfortable against the short ball. He is really struggling for runs at the moment and I think Surrey have to find a way to operate without him.
Gary Wilson joined Ponting at the crease to see out the remainder of the day and they did just that. Not without alarm it has to be said as Rankin tested Wilson's technique with some good bowling. He had Wilson edging to the third man boundary twice and edging just short of Chopra at slip on another occasion. It was a good battle between the two Irishmen. Ultimately, Wilson came out on top as he remained 28 not out at the close. Another gritty innings from the keeper. Ponting looked completely untroubled, no matter the bowler, and was 38 not out as Troughton decided to call time just before 6pm.
We remain rooted in the bottom two and at the moment its hard to see where a win is coming from. We don't look confident and its hard to see just what the strategy is at times. Up next is Sussex at Arundel and then Yorkshire after that. If we can't pick up a win against one or both of those quality sides, relegation will start to look a distinct possibility.
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