Last day drama but match ends in a draw


There was final day drama at the Kia Oval as this Vitality County Championship match between Somerset and Surrey ended in a draw.

The hosts began the day as favourites, but as the game drew to a dramatic climax, it was Somerset who were in the ascendancy.

After a rain delay, the visiting batters demonstrated grit, determination, patience and no shortage of skill until the rearguard action finally came to an end just after 4:50pm.

That left Surrey chasing 209 in 19 overs. Dan Lawrence and Jamie Smith hit 32 off the seventh and eight overs to take their stand to 90 and set up the prospect of a first win of the season for the champions. However, the Somerset bowlers wrestled the initiative back and the two sets of players shook hands.

During his knock, Smith twice hit Craig Overton back over his head into the pavilion and also pulled a short ball from Migael Pretorius over mid-wicket for his third six. However, in trying to clear long on off the first ball of the ninth over he was well caught by Matt Renshaw running in from the boundary off the bowling of Lewis Gregory for 45 off 25 balls.

Ollie Pope slashed the second ball of the tenth from Kasey Aldridge over point for six but he was bowled later in the over attempting a repeat before three wickets in nine balls ended Surrey’s challenge.

Aldridge picked up two in the 12th over as Jamie Overton slogged one in the air and skipper Rory Burns was caught on the boundary for a four-ball duck. Gregory then held a steepler to remove Dom Sibley off his own bowling.

Lawrence was unbeaten on 53 from 34 balls when the players shook hands with five overs left and the scoreboard showing 123 for five.

Earlier, Gregory batted for 66 overs for 80 in Somerset’s second-innings of 351 as his determination helped to blunt the Surrey attack.

Gregory had come in on day three with his side five wickets down and only nine runs in front, but he got good support from Aldridge (42) and Craig Overton (52 not out) in four-and-a-quarter hours at the crease.

Play didn’t start until 12.10pm and when Surrey took the new ball Somerset’s lead was only 100. Gregory did edge a delivery from Kemar Roach which dropped just short of second slip but otherwise both he and Aldridge were untroubled until Roach made the breakthrough in the second over after lunch to end a seventh-wicket stand of 94.

Roach went slightly wide of the crease and Aldridge edged a ball which straightened a touch as he pushed forward.

The lead was 113 and after 13 overs of seam with the new ball Surrey switched to an all-spin attack but neither Steel nor Lawrence could break through. Back came the seamers and on 69 Gregory hooked Gus Atkinson’s short ball to deep square leg where Roach put down a difficult chance in the swirling wind. Surrey might have guessed then that their day was to end in frustration.

Gregory and Overton extended their stand to 89 and the Somerset skipper had just swatted a ball from Steel through mid-wicket to take the lead beyond 200 when his vigil ended somewhat tamely with a cut to point.

Pretorius’s drive to extra cover and a quicker ball which pinned Shoaib Bashir gave Steel the final three wickets and match figures of nine for 146.

Surrey took 14 points and Somerset 11.

At the end of a dramatic final day, Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr said: “Apart from about 40 minutes on day one we have been outstanding in this game. We showed a lot of resilience. We were close to shutting the game down but then we gave them a bit of a sniff. Lewis Gregory and Kasey Aldridge bowled really well and I thought a draw was a fair result over four days.

“Kasey has been outstanding with his bowling and batting today. He showed a lot of maturity under immense pressure. He’s grown as a cricketer already this season.”