Meaker strikes raise Surrey's hopes
Sussex 217 and 39 for 2 v Surrey 292
Two late wickets for Stuart Meaker gave Surrey an outside chance of toppling second division leaders Sussex with a day to go of their County Championship tussle at Guildford. Trailing by 75 on first innings, Sussex openers Chris Nash and Ed Joyce had knocked 38 off their arrears without too much trouble when Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown brought on Meaker in the eighth over.
In his second over he trapped Nash leg before with a nip-backer and three balls later a delivery that was full and straight proved too good for nightwatchman Monty Panesar, who collected his sixth duck in his last 15 Championship innings. Sussex closed on 39 for 2 but, with a day to go and the pitch showing little sign of wear after a second-day washout, a draw still seems the likely outcome.
Earlier, Sussex's overseas bowler Yasir Arafat had taken 5 for 81 - his best figures for the county for more than four years. The Pakistani picked up the key wickets of Mark Ramprakash (21) and skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown (22) before lunch and then returned after tea with the second new ball to sweep away Surrey's tail.
It was a good morning for the leaders, who picked up four wickets. Corey Collymore ended a first-wicket stand of 67 when Arun Harinath gloved his lifter to gully and Will Adkin claimed his maiden first-class victim when Tom Lancefield drove loosely and was also taken in the gully. Ramprakash had looked well set until he played on and Hamilton-Brown hooked to midwicket but Surrey rallied after lunch during a stand of 89 in 26 overs between Steven Davies and Stewart Walters.
Davies rode his luck and was dropped on 15 and 23 but his aggressive strokeplay forced Sussex onto the defensive until he was leg before to Panesar's arm ball, which he was trying to work into the leg side. His 62 was his eighth half-century of the season and took him to within 16 of 1,000 first-class runs for the summer.
Panesar also picked up Walters for 45 when he drove loosely to mid-on but Chris Tremlett hit straight sixes off both Panesar and offspinner Ollie Rayner before Arafat returned and dragged Sussex back into contention with three wickets in as many overs. Gareth Batty (19) mistimed a hook to deep midwicket while Rayner snapped up Tremlett (28) and Jade Dernbach (nought) with low catches at second slip.