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David Lloyd at Taunton
August 31, 2012
Surrey 317 (Pietersen 163) and 360 for 5 dec (Harinath 105*, Burns 60, Pietersen 58) drew with Somerset 294 (Trego 92, Hildreth 85, Kartik 4-70, Meaker 4-74)
After the class of Kevin Pietersen's first-innings century and the controversy caused by the 'Mankading' of Alex Barrow, the final day of this unforgettable match was all really rather apologetic.
Gareth Batty, Surrey's captain and the man who took ultimate responsibility for Barrow's run-out while backing up by Murali Kartik, made his peace with Somerset opposite number, Marcus Trescothick.
Then, after teasing onlookers into thinking a challenging declaration was just around the corner, a contest which lost one full day to bad weather drifted to the tamest of draws with the sides - unsurprisingly, perhaps - unable to reach an agreement.
Speculation was rife that a deal had been struck when, immediately after lunch, Somerset served up four overs of dob bowling and Surrey plundered 47 runs - despite Pietersen presenting Chris Jones with a memorable maiden first-class wicket on the first occasion that his offspin has ever been called upon in senior cricket.
Far from having agreed a target, though, Trescothick was just trying to tease the opposition into setting something that could be chased in the final session and a half. Negotiations continued but the figures would not add up and normal service resumed until a halt was called an hour or so early, after Arun Harinath had completed his second century in as many matches.
No one could blame Somerset for trying to talk a deal: realistically, they needed a victory to keep alive their slim hopes of winning the title. And while some home supporters might beg to differ, it would be harsh to criticise Surrey, for whom a draw - and nine points - is a decent result in their fight to avoid relegation.
"We couldn't work it out," Trescothick said. "We offered, they offered but we couldn't agree. We thought potentially we were going to sort something out [during the four overs of 'declaration' bowling] but we couldn't get to it. These have been an interesting couple of days."
That was a bit of an understatement from Trescothick, who accepts that it will be "very tough" now for Somerset to win the title. But he confirmed that yesterday's run-out row had been put to bed following Batty's approach. "He apologised, we move on," Trescothick said. "These things happen, we all make mistakes [so] let's crack on and leave it alone."
Somerset clearly harboured hopes this morning of being able to win without the need for deal-making - and Alfonso Thomas did nothing to dispel that optimism during a fiery burst which saw him give opener Rory Burns something of a going over.
Thomas hit the left-hander on the glove (with a lifter), the helmet (with a bouncer) and the toe (with a slightly off line yorker). To his credit, Burns battled though but then, having just brought up Surrey's first century opening stand of the Championship season in partnership with Zafar Ansari, he popped a bat-pad catch to short leg off left-arm spinner George Dockrell
Ansari edged a drive against Sajid Mahmood but two wickets down at lunch, with the visitors already 176 ahead, was not enough for Somerset - and the negotiations began.
Pietersen helped himself to 30 runs from 11 balls, delivered by James Hildreth and Jones, but then - to everyone's disbelief and general amusement - he punched Jones low to short extra cover and wandered off, smiling ruefully.
The 'proper' bowlers returned almost immediately - with deal-making talks having failed - and Harinath set about scoring a fine century to add to the one he made against Middlesex a fortnight ago. The left-hander survived a stumping chance, on 38, but made the most of his good fortune.
"Our youngsters at the top of the order have really come to the party in the second half of the season," Surrey team director, Chris Adams, said. "I think we've always known that Arun has all the potential and all the ability but he hasn't been able to take his opportunities until now. I'm absolutely delighted for him - he's a very popular member of the squad."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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