Smith and Joyce make sure of draw
Middlesex 437 and 353 for 6 dec (Smith 88, Joyce 60) drew with Surrey 460
Middlesex and Surrey played out a draw on a slow final day at Lord's. Surrey's bowlers failed to make inroads as Middlesex kept their Eds - Smith and Joyce - long enough to put the result beyond doubt. Smith posted 88 and Joyce made 60 and, with Surrey's bowlers failing to find any penetration on a flattish pitch, the game petered out into a tame draw.
The final day started with Surrey in a position to go for the win and Graham Thorpe - Surrey's stand-in captain in the absence of the injured Mark Ramprakash - kept the catchers in but his bowlers lacked the venom to force the issue. Thorpe turned to Dominic Thornely to try for the breakthrough. It was a sound decision: Thornely removed Smith 12 short of what would have been only the third championship century for Middlesex this season. But by that time, Smith and Joyce had posted a stand of 100 and the result was a foregone conclusion.
Smith played well for his 88 while Joyce again showed why he is England class with his 60, which included nine fours, before Harbhajan Singh eventually trapped him lbw. Singh bowled consistently but, as with the rest of the attack, rarely was he threatening. Not that he had much opportunity: he was given only ten overs on the final day.
The game meandered on - and even the commentators on Sky Sports began to question whether this was a great advertisement for the county game. Scott Styris helped himself to a stylish 55, while Ben Scott added 61 not out from lower down the order and by the close Middlesex were 353 for 6.
The pitch didn't help the search for a result, neither did the loss of 30 overs last night through bad light. "We wanted to try to get a lead [on the third day] and there were some tired bowlers out there," Ramprakash told Sky Sports after the match. "But then the bad light came and we can't control that."
Nevertheless, he was in bullish mood, as Surrey recorded yet another draw. "We are very happy with how we are playing at the moment. Twice in this match we had Middlesex under pressure. If we keep putting ourselves in those positions, I think those wins will come."
He confirmed that he has a hairline fracture of his thumb and is not anticipating a return to action for at least three weeks.
Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo