Surrey v Nottinghamshire, The Oval, 3rd day July 10, 2013

Surrey find focus for Ponting farewell

Vithushan Ehantharajah at The Oval

Surrey 198 and 186 for 2 (Harinath 69*, Ponting 41*) trail Nottinghamshire 410 (Patel 110, Mullaney 104) by 26 runs

In the context of the match, Surrey still have much to do but, in isolation, they controlled day three of their encounter with Notts in a professional manner, making up ground in a match that looked to have passed them by. A good day was capped off with a special achievement, as Ricky Ponting passed 24,000 first class runs in his 494th and last innings in the format.

Just over 20 years from his first, the landmark was met with upstanding applause, recognised by Ponting with a coy raising of his bat - almost embarrassed at the thought of acknowledging the crowd with just 19 to his name.

The applause that greeted his entry to the middle at 89 for 2 was not quite as loud as that which welcomed him in the first innings. You can blame the Ashes for that - but as Australia's top-order faltered in Trent Bridge, Ponting, along with Adam Voges at Uxbridge and Simon Katich at Wantage Road, provided all and sundry with some neat hypothetical plotlines.

Camera phones were out in force, each owner desperate to catch the last moments of a legend; the routines, the forward press, that pull shot. Even the acclaim for his boundaries seemed to linger - the finest a dead heat between a perfectly balanced cover drive off Ajmal Shahzad and an advancing inside-out drive through the same region off Samit Patel. The romantics didn't want it end and neither, apparently, did David Hussey, who resisted the urge to run out Ponting at the non-striker's end when he was backing up too far. A cheeky feint to the stumps, ball in delivery hand, brought a wry smile from both.

But it would be wrong, even in his final first-class innings, to dwell too much on Ponting and ignore Arun Harinath, who played a fine hand. Dormant for the first segment of his innings, he exploded to life in the evening session, planting Graeme White for two sixes over the left-arm spinner's head.

Harinath as a spectacle takes a lot of getting used to. He finds fielders often, which can frustrate spectators, but does so with an air of assurance that quickly becomes infectious. At 26 years of age, he is somewhat of a late bloomer, more down to a lack of opportunities than performance, but credit to Surrey for affording him the chance to prove them right.

England selector James Whitaker was present at The Oval, casting a watchful eye over Chris Tremlett. England's favourite Transformer-esque fast bowler's only contribution of note was a back-of-length ball that Samit Patel hit on the up past the cover fielder to bring up his second Championship ton of the season.

By the time Whitaker left, Surrey had neatly finished off the Nottinghamshire innings but not before the visitors had taken their lead past 200. Jade Dernbach was the chief architect, taking his first wickets of the match when he saw off Patel, White and Andre Adams - the latter's lusty hitting taking the score past 400.

With Surrey trailing by 212, Rory Burns began like a man possessed, crashing three fours off one over from Harry Gurney, the first two through the off side making a whopping thud off his bat. But when he departed for a sprightly 38 and a calamitous run-out saw the end of Vikram Solanki, there was a chance the home side could wobble.

But Harinath and Ponting saw their way to stumps with Surrey a mere 26 runs behind. After two days of apathetic cricket, Surrey awoke to open up the possibility of a potentially outrageous smash and grab.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on July 11, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    Personally , I used to get the impression that RP had a bit of an attitude about him but a friend's mother who was a season ticket holder at Somerset said he was a thoroughly likeable bloke. He came accross very well when he was a guest on Sky (think it was one of the CT games) Anyway what great innings to go out on and all the best for your retirement. One of the undisputed modern greats

  • Cyril on July 11, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    @Chris_P just got home, stayed all day. Would never deny Ricky Ponting being a legend and he made that look all so easy. But it means more to me to watch someone I've seen play since debut score runs than a man in his last innings. I support Surrey

    @brusselslion Harinath didn't play consistently until the end of last season he has progressed very well since. De Bruyn, Solanki and Roy have been more hit and miss so far this year, on a lot more money and considered of far higher standing. Harinath is a vital part of the side at the moment. Which does say a lot about the strength of the squad.

    Harinath is second in our averages this season and our second highest run scorer! Burns has only scored 100 more runs than him (in one more game) and people are beginning to rate him highly.

  • Peter on July 11, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    @ Cyril_Knight. Guess you didn't hang around too long then, I see Harimath didn't add to his score & Punter scored 100. Appreciate a real legend my friend.

  • Ray on July 11, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    @Cyril: No doubt Harinath gives 100% each and every time (and yes, some other Surrey players could learn from his example in this regard) .... but, he is woefully inconsistent.

    Being very generous, his progress has stalled over over the past 2 seasons. Despite loving his approach to the game, I fear that he is just not good enough.

  • Dummy4 on July 11, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    dearly want ponting to make a hundred... A True Legend

  • Dummy4 on July 11, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Still He is one of the best and can make it into any team of any era......wat to say about current aussi batsman

  • Dummy4 on July 11, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Seriously, what is he retiring for? He could walk into the current Ashes side and he's easily good enough to go on to get 100 hundreds over the next couple of years. A real shame.

  • Peter on July 10, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    End it with a flourish, Punter. Leave the game & Surrey supporters with something they can relate to their grandchildren. Tips my hat off to you.

  • Cyril on July 10, 2013, 21:07 GMT

    A bad case of sun burn meant I stayed home today, but I will be back tomorrow! Nothing to do with Ponting, but Arun Harinath is my favourite cricketer and it is a joy to watch him bat well and I hope to take in another 100 in the morning.

    "Infectious" is a great word to describe him. I afford him a poor shot or misfield because he never gives up, he gives 100% whenever he steps over the rope. There are two or three other Surrey players who would do well to learn from Hari's dedication to the cause and willingness to graft.

    I'll trade Ponting out first ball in the morning for a Harinath hundred.

  • Brian on July 10, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    Ironic, but somehow fitting, that Ponting's last first-class innings should take place to such acclaim from an English crowd, when he was such a hate figure for so long to English crowds, and specifically at the Oval, which was the place where he twice lost the Ashes as captain. Given that Australia and England are simultaneously playing each other at Trent Bridge, scene of another bad moment or two for Ponting (in 2005), it would also be fitting if Australia were to mark Punter's last first-class match with a victory.

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