Yardy hundred guides Sussex to draw
Sussex 217 and 275 for 6 drew with Surrey 292
Sussex skipper Michael Yardy scored his first four-day hundred of the season to guide his side to a draw in their County Championship match against Division Two opponents Surrey at Guildford. The left-hander got there in style with a maximum as Sussex reached 275 for 6 in their second innings, the players shaking hands with the visitors 200 in front.
It was not enough to prevent his side losing their top-of-the-table status after Glamorgan's win over Worcestershire put them a point clear, but Yardy will have been satisfied with the outcome after his side had been outplayed for large parts of the contest.
Sussex began the final day 39 for 2 and still 36 runs in arrears and made the worst possible start when Chris Tremlett's lifter flew off the shoulder of Michael Thornely's bat and was taken in the gully off the first ball of the day. Ed Joyce and Murray Goodwin cleared the deficit but the lead was just seven runs when Ed Joyce was bowled round his legs sweeping the off-spin of Gareth Batty.
Sussex suffered another blow just before lunch when Meaker, who was the pick of Surrey's seam attack, yorked Murray Goodwin to leave Sussex 94 for 5, a lead of just 19. But that was Surrey's last success for 32 overs as Yardy and Ben Brown, who was playing in only his fourth Championship game, turned things around.
Yardy offered one chance on 19 but Matthew Spriegel, who had earlier dropped Goodwin at third slip before he had scored, failed to hold on to a low catch. He played with increasing confidence thereafter and Brown soon settled down to give him excellent support in a partnership of 108 in 32 overs, the highest of this low-scoring game.
Surrey took the new ball as soon as it became available and Meaker quickly struck when Brown was caught behind driving loosely for 52, made off 96 balls with five fours. There were still 32 overs remaining and Sussex's lead was only 127 but Surrey's hopes of quickly polishing off their tail after tea ebbed away as Yasir Arafat joined Yardy in another productive partnership.
Yardy went to his hundred with his second six, struck down the ground off Meaker, and he finished unbeaten on 100 off 157 balls having added an unbeaten 73 for the seventh wicket. Meaker finished with 4 for 86 but Surrey were hampered by the absence of Jade Dernbach who was forced off with a shoulder injury before returning to the attack later in the day.