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Jon Culley at Headingley
June 24, 2013
Surrey 353 for 7 dec (Pietersen 177*) and 4 for 0 drew with Yorkshire 433 for 9 dec (Gale 148, Ballance 90, Plunkett 51) and 254 (Plunkett 68, Keedy 7-99)
So far as Kevin Pietersen was concerned, after his extraordinary performance on Sunday, the visit to Headingley could be filed under 'mission accomplished' even before a ball was bowled on the final morning. Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire captain, had been toying with the idea of setting up a run chase; Vikram Solanki, his Surrey counterpart in this match, was wondering if his bowlers could take nine wickets. Yet if Pietersen, having felt the downside of Sunday's unbeaten 177 in his hamstrings when he woke, had the appetite for a second flexing of his batting muscles, it had long gone by the afternoon.
As Gary Keedy, on one of his increasingly rare days at centre stage, tried gamely to spin out the last two Yorkshire batsmen, Pietersen was leaning on the fence at fine leg, indulging himself in a little banter with the Yorkshire members. At one point - jokingly of course - he offered to give them their money back if they'd let him go home. It's a wonder he didn't find a queue outside the dressing room door.
In the event, they agreed to go quietly a little before 5pm, content enough that Yorkshire had batted long enough to ensure that Pietersen was not required. When they lost their sixth wicket with the departure of Adil Rashid, who was bowled by Keedy for 45, the ball spinning into his stumps off the bottom of his bat, they were only 240 in front with 63 overs still to play, but a second half-century in the match by Liam Plunkett saw to it that Pietersen's boredom continued.
With support first from Andy Hodd, and then from Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Patterson, two bowlers carrying injuries, Plunkett's two-and-a-half hour 68 stretched the lead to 334 so that by the time Keedy claimed Plunkett as his seventh victim - and his best analysis in three years - there were only 21 overs remaining. The draw takes Yorkshire 13 points ahead of Sussex in the Division One table. Surrey are still without a win.
Gale insisted that Yorkshire would have taken a risk over Pietersen had the injuries to his bowlers not been a factor.
"I did think about what he had done in the first innings when I came into the ground," Gale said. "He can take a game away from you in an hour. It was an amazing knock, pure genius - the best I've seen live on a cricket field. Our lads did not bowl badly but it didn't matter where we put the field, he was going to hit it where there weren't fielders. When you've got a guy who can hit sixes from the crease, what can you do?
"But the way myself and Jason Gillespie go about our cricket, we like to be attacking. Unfortunately, when I got here, Ryan had a stiff back, which meant we were down to two seamers and a spinner, so it would have been difficult to bowl then out."
In the event, some dogged defending was required and Patterson, batting despite a broken toe, deserved credit in particular for standing his ground for more than an hour.
Solanki, standing in for the injured Gareth Batty as Surrey's captain, felt the signs were encouraging for his side's fight to avoid relegation, particularly after the trauma of losing team director Chris Adams and first-team coach Ian Salisbury in last week's double sacking.
"We played some good cricket and put ourselves in a position to try to win the game," he said. "We declared behind in the hope that they might set us something. That did not come about and they hung on through a difficult period. Obviously to have Kevin play an innings like that made a huge difference here but in the last two games we have felt we are moving in the right direction.
"What happened to Chris and Ian came as a big shock, certainly something I did not see coming. I was disappointed for them because I've seen the amount of work they put in.
"But it would be an excuse to say we were affected by it. Things happen but when you step across the line as a professional cricketer your focus is on the game. We did all we could to try to get a win."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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