Draw looms large despite Newton’s efforts

Draw looms large despite Newton’s efforts

Stumps, day three: Surrey 155/3 trail Northants 309 (Newton 95; Curran 4/89) by 154 runs, at Wantage Road

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Rob Newton fell five short of his century

Rob Newton fell five short of a century and Tom Curran took four wickets, but Northamptonshire’s game with Surrey is destined for a draw after day three at Wantage Road.

After only 28 overs were possible on the opening two days, Surrey closed on 155-3 in reply to Northants’ 309, and only something remarkable on the final day will ensure a positive result for either side.

Newton’s innings put Northants in a commanding position on 288-5, but the hosts lost their last five wickets for 21 runs, Zafar Ansari taking 3-50. Ansari and Rory Burns put on an opening stand of 89 for Surrey but both fell to Muhammed Azharullah before the close.

Stephen Peters resumed on 64 and continued in the same positive frame with Newton, the pair finding runs easy to come by in the opening hour. Newton reached his fifty from 67 balls, hitting nine fours.

A ball change in the following over saw Peters dismissed after a stand of 97, the opener attempting a cut off Curran and edging to Wilson behind. Curran had dismissed Alex Wakely on the previous evening and had his third wicket shortly before lunch as Rob Keogh was bowled for 29.

Newton slowed after lunch as he approached three figures, and would become the third Northants batsmen to fall for 95 already this season as he pushed at a wide one from Curran and got a thin nick behind.

Rossington and Cobb added a further 50 for the sixth wicket but with Ansari and Garethy Batty bowling up until the new ball, Cobb lazily drove Ansari to midwicket to spark a lower-order collapse.

Northants’ lower-order has often been their strength this year but David Willey played down the wrong line to Ansari and was bowled first ball, with Steven Crook slog-sweeping Batty straight to deep midwicket in the following over, also without score.

Having lost three wickets in seven balls, Rossington reached his half century in 69 balls and took Northants beyond 300, but Olly Stone (7) was bowled by Batty, who finished with 2-10.

Rossington launched Ansari for a huge straight six but got a leading edge attempting a further blow, giving the bowler a simple return catch.

Burns and Ansari looked in little danger in a composed opening stand of 89, seeing off the new ball with little threat, until Azharullah struck twice in successive balls, Ansari top edging a pull to be brilliant caught by keeper Rossington, and in the first ball of his next over Burns was trapped LBW.

Dom Sibley was deputising for Kevin Pietersen in the Surrey line-up but could only make three before he got a thin edge off Willey behind to leave Surrey slightly wobbling on 108-3.

However Kumar Sangakarra and Steven Davies saw out the remainder of play with ease, adding a further 47 before the close and finishing on 28 and 30 respectively, despite Sangakkara almost running himself out, with Crook missing the stumps from mid-on.

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