Gloucestershire v Surrey, Cheltenham, 3rd day July 29, 2011

Dent century gives Gloucestershire a chance

Gloucestershire 286 and 249 for 3 v Surrey 423

Chris Dent hit his maiden first-class century as Gloucestershire made a fight of the County Championship game with Surrey at Cheltenham.

The 20-year-old local product made exactly 100 as his side reached 249 for 4 in their second innings to take a lead of 112 into the final day, skipper Alex Gidman contributed an unbeaten 57.

Earlier, Surrey had been bowled out for 423, having begun the day on 392 for 8, Yasir Arafat being ninth man out for 65 and Jon Lewis claiming four for 95 on the day it was announced he would be moving to The Oval on a two-year contract next season.

That gave the visitors a first-innings lead of 137 and they made an early breakthrough in Gloucestershire's second innings when Hamish Marshall was pinned leg-before by a ball from Tim Linley that cut back and kept low.

It was 12 for 1 and Surrey may have harboured hopes of a swift kill. But Dent and Chris Taylor responded positively for the hosts and took the total to 68 at lunch. A further 25 had been added when Taylor, on 47, attempted to pull Linley and got a top edge to be caught by Jade Dernbach at deep square leg.

At 113 for 2 rain interrupted play, but an early tea was taken and no overs were lost. It meant a long final session of 50 overs and Dent reached his half-century off 114 balls, with eight fours.

Kane Williamson looked in good form moving to 27, with four fours, but then surrendered his wicket in careless fashion, driving the left-arm spin of Zafar Ansari in the air to mid-on where Arafat took a comfortable catch.

Gidman, on seven, appeared to survive a chance to first slip off Gareth Batty with the score 153 for 3, and the Gloucestershire captain went on to flourish with some fine attacking shots including a straight six off Ansari.

Dent was prolific square of the wicket with some sweetly timed cuts and pull shots. Having narrowly missed out on a hundred several times last season, he bravely went for broke and moved from 94 with a pulled six off Ansari.

The diminutive left-hander had faced 202 deliveries and hit 13 fours. The Surrey team joined in the applause of the festival crowd for a memorable landmark in his short career, but in the same over he pushed forward to Ansari and was bowled.

Gidman moved to fifty in the following over, having faced 89 balls and hit four fours and a six. The new ball became due, but the light was poor and the umpires took the players off with a possible five overs left in the day.