Draw looms after Worcestershire fight hard
Surrey 493 and 57 for 2 v Worcestershire 465
Half-centuries from Alexei Kervezee, Ben Smith and Ben Scott helped Worcestershire trim Surrey's first-innings lead to 28 on day three of their County Championship Division Two clash at Whitgift School.
The visitors had looked set to pass their hosts' total of 493 when they passed the 450-mark for the loss of only five wickets, but a burst of three wickets in seven balls by Jade Dernbach just before tea put paid to those hopes. Surrey had reached 57 for 2 by the close in their second innings to establish an overall advantage of 85.
Worcestershire were still 231 runs behind with seven wickets in hand at the start of the day but any hopes Surrey had of enforcing the follow-on in pursuit of their first Championship win of the season were dashed in the first over when Kervezee edged Chris Schofield to slip and Andre Nel put down the catch.
Nel made some amends by having Moeen Ali, who had added only four to his overnight 122, caught at first slip in his second over with the new ball but the follow-on had been averted by a fifth-wicket stand of 77 between Kervezee and Smith by the time Surrey took another wicket.
Kervezee, the Namibia-born batsman who has played for Holland since he was 15, had made 68 off 133 balls with 12 fours when he was trapped lbw to a ball from Schofield that skidded on to him. Smith and Scott put on another 115 for the sixth wicket before Dernbach made his breakthrough.
First he had Smith caught behind for 80, scored off 163 balls with nine fours. Three balls later he snared Scott, who had just reached his first Championship fifty for two years, picked up at short leg fending off a lifter. Then in his next over he had Jack Shantry caught behind.
Schofield and Gareth Batty, two former England spinners, did manage to clean up the tail as Worcestershire lost their last five wickets for six runs in seven overs but they finished with only three wickets for 241 runs between them.
Surrey needed quick runs after that if they were going to conjure a victory on the final day but they made another poor start when Arun Harinath was caught behind off Alan Richardson in the third over. Stewart Walters threatened to give the innings some impetus by thrashing three fours off successive balls from Richard Jones but then he played limply at Shantry to be caught at first slip.
Mark Ramprakash and Usman Afzaal were then happy to bat out the day against the occasional spin of Moeen and Vikram Solanki.