A maiden first-class century from Craig Meschede helped Glamorgan to bat the entirety of Day Three in Cardiff, avoiding the follow-on in the process.
The South-African all rounder, deemed surplus to requirements at parent club Somerset, batted with the necessary discipline befitting the match situation, but also displayed an eye-catching array of strokes. Glamorgan’s task for the day was to simply bat, bat and then bat some more. With little chance of forcing a positive result, the Welsh county had to dig in and deny Surrey with 18 wickets that would hand them the victory.
It was during a record breaking ninth-wicket partnership late in the balmy Cardiff sunshine that Meschede was able to avoid the follow-on for his side. A boundary cracked off the medium pace of Jason Roy did the job, and he followed it up with a single to register his hundred for good measure. In tandem with the veteran spinner Dean Cosker, they recorded a partnership worth 119 runs; a ninth-wicket record against Surrey.
For his part, Cosker was obdurate, stubborn and dogged, his 19 runs being stolen in over two hours of patient vigil. Surrey stuck manfully to their task, but faced with a pitch offering little assistance they were no more than adequate. Gareth Batty made a few balls grip, and there are some small signs of some spin tomorrow. In truth however, this pitch has blunted both bowling attacks with ease. Cosker’s defence was finally breached with just one more run required to avoid the follow-on, as he was trapped lbw by Roy’s first delivery.
It looked increasingly unlikely during the first two sessions of play that Glamorgan would get anywhere near the 414 required to avoid the follow-on. Resuming on an overnight score of 124/2 in reply to Surrey’s 563/7 declared, the hosts lost three wickets before lunch. The trio of wickets were all self-inflicted to one degree or another, although Chris Cooke may consider himself a touch unlucky. A searing direct hit from the cover boundary by Zafar Ansari left him well short of his crease having scored just 20.
Will Bragg was able to add just 18 to his overnight score before being bowled via his thigh pad for 37, and Colin Ingram fell tamely, succeeding in lobbing a delivery from Tom Curran to cover for 56. Glamorgan lunched at 210/5 and considering the pitch and the batsmen’s need to play cautiously, Surrey could be pleased with their morning’s work.
The match swung further in Surrey’s direction after the interval, as Graeme Wagg succumbed to his own attacking instincts for a vibrant 33. Mark Wallace, as he has done on countless other occasions, showed some resistance and ground out a half-century to offer some small glimmer of hope for the Cardiff faithful.
After his dismissal, it was Meschede who took on the baton for Glamorgan; and he grabbed it with aplomb. His partnership with Cosker has, barring miracles tomorrow, secured the draw for his new side, and gave his own career a much-needed shot in the arm. One has to wonder how his loan move will work out, will he return to Somerset ready made for the first XI, or does his future lie elsewhere?
Surrey will now head into Day Four with a lead of 144 runs and in pursuit of quick runs to allow themselves at least fifty overs to bowl Glamorgan out tomorrow afternoon. If nothing else, Glamorgan’s dogged batting, and Meschede’s maiden ton have meant that the assembled media at Cardiff will likely get the chance to see Kevin Pietersen bat once again.