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Alviro Petersen and Jos Buttler narrowly missed out on centuries as Somerset held off Surrey to secure a draw on the final day of the LV= County Championship Division One clash at the Kia Oval.
South Africa batsman Petersen added a fine 91 to his first-innings 167 before Buttler, who made an attractive 94, further thwarted Surrey’s bid to force an unlikely victory.
Somerset eventually batted out the day at 251 for nine declared but Surrey’s Stuart Meaker, who finished with 5-60, still staked his claim to be involved in this summer’s Ashes series with an admirable display of fast bowling on an unresponsive pitch.
Somerset’s top-order wobble, after starting the final day 24 runs ahead on six without loss in their second innings, gave the first hint of at an unexpected twist in the tale.
Following a fifth-wicket stand of 111 in 30 overs between Petersen and Buttler, Somerset faltered again, losing four wickets in five overs before the latter found a staunch ally in George Dockrell and put the outcome beyond doubt.
The fifth over of the day saw Marcus Trescothick fall to a superb catch by Gary Wilson at second slip off Meaker, who struck again when he uprooted Nick Compton’s off stump to make it 35 for two.
James Hildreth survived a difficult chance at slip in Gareth Batty’s first over and Petersen, on 13, was close to being caught down leg when Zander de Bruyn was introduced at the other end.
Hildreth, shaping to cut, was pinned lbw on the crease by Batty for 21 and Craig Kieswetter, pushing forward, went leg before to de Bruyn to make it 82 for four. But Petersen proved to be a tougher nut to crack.
The South African moved to a 66-ball half-century just before lunch. After the break, he picked Gary Keedy up over midwicket for six and moved into the eighties with a reverse-swept four off Keedy who, at one point, was wided for bowling down the leg-side.
The game came alive again when Batty had Petersen snapped up at short-leg and Peter Trego was caught at first slip to become Meaker’s 150th victim in first-class cricket.
Alfonso Thomas was bowled for duck and Meaker had his five-wicket haul when Jamie Overton was undone by an inswinging delivery, though not before Buttler had reached his fifty which came off 103 balls.
Buttler lifted Keedy back over his head for six, only to pick out Batty at long-on three balls later, whereupon the two sides shook hands on a draw with Somerset immediately declaring. Somerset took nine points while Surrey finished with eight.
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