Surrey v Hampshire: Visitors avoid follow-on to secure draw
|LV= County Championship Division Two, The Kia Oval|
|Surrey 474-8 dec & 13-0 drew with Hampshire 354|
|Surrey 12pts, Hampshire 9pts|
Unbeaten Hampshire kept their promotion challenge on course by playing out a draw with Surrey at The Oval.
Will Smith (82) and Sean Ervine (80) batted well, but the visitors were in danger of having to follow on at 294-9.
However, Danny Briggs (38 not out) and James Tomlinson (27) staved off the threat with a last-wicket stand of 60.
Off-spinner Gareth Batty took 3-74 and Tillakaratne Dilshan and Vikram Solanki picked up two wickets each for Surrey, who were 13-0 when a halt was called.
Hampshire's nine points from the game put them 10 clear at the top of the Division Two table, but they could be overtaken by Worcestershire, whose game against Glamorgan finishes on Wednesday.
Surrey remain in third place, having cut the gap between themselves and Hampshire to 16 points, but they have played a game more.
Resuming on 167-3, Hampshire added 49 runs before Smith, who was lbw to Zafar Ansari after missing an attempted sweep, and Adam Wheater departed in the space of three deliveries.
They suffered another double setback, which saw the departures of Kyle Abbott and Ervine, the latter slicing a catch to backward point from an attempted lofted on-drive off Dilshan.
However, Briggs and Tomlinson collected eight boundaries between them to snuff out Surrey's outside chance of forcing a win before the latter was caught at long-on off Solanki immediately before tea as Hampshire were all out for 354.
Surrey captain Gary Wilson:
"We had won the last two games, but it was always going to be tough to make it three in a row against a good Hampshire side on a pitch which didn't really help the bowlers a great deal.
"Credit to our bowlers, they stuck at it really well - Gareth Batty's going to be about two foot shorter by the time I've finished bowling him this season.
"But he's doing a great job for us at the moment, and as long as he continues to do a good job, he'll continue to bowl."
Hampshire all-rounder Sean Ervine:
"It was a big effort by the guys to bat out the final day, but we always felt we could do it.
"The pitch was very slow so we couldn't score runs at the rate we'd have liked, but the main thing was to get through the final day and we did that well in the end."
BBC Radio Solent's Kevan James:
"The used wicket at the Oval did not deteriorate as much as Surrey would have hoped as Hampshire ground out the 325 runs they needed to save the follow on and thereby kill the game by mid-afternoon on the final day.
"Sean Ervine in particular was more watchful than normal for his 80 off 149 balls and a last-wicket stand worth 60 between Danny Briggs and James Tomlinson made sure that they kept Surrey at arms' length."