Surrey pair provide entertainment in drab draw

Jason Roy and Kumar Sangakkara made centuries in a partnership of 170 as Surrey’s match with Northamptonshire petered out to a predictable draw on the final day at Wantage Road.

After 164 overs were lost over the first two days in Northampton a draw was always the likely outcome and Surrey batted out the final day to reach 499-6 at the close, after Sangakkara’s 111, his second Surrey century, and Roy’s highest first-class score of 140.

Ten points sees Northants move into second place in Division Two, while Surrey take 13 to go fifth, only five points behind Northants in a group of four teams behind Lancashire in the table.

With his side still unbeaten with a win and four draws, Northants captain Alex Wakely said he was happy with their start, and if they can keep injury-free is confident they can remain in contention come the business end of the season.

“I think it leaves us in a very good position,” he said. “Playing Lancashire and Surrey, we targeted them as big games, we wanted to play on good wickets, we wanted high scoring wickets and we got that.

“We threw it away slightly with the bat where could have had a really big score on the board but I think we’re in a very good position and I’d have taken this at the start of the season that’s for sure.

“I’m pleased with the way everyone is hitting the ball, the mental state everyone’s in, the way they’re practising is as good as I’ve seen for a long time, it’s similar to 2013 and if they keep doing the same things I think we’ll be in the same position.

“We know we’ve got a very good squad but it’s also very small, and we need injuries to go our way if we’re going to compete in all three competitions.

“There’s been a lot of talk in the club about [prioritising] one-day cricket but as players we never see it that way. The Championship is ultimately what you’re judged on, and I think we’ve got a good enough squad to be pushing there or thereabouts.”

Resuming 155-3, the final day was all about Sangakkara and Roy as the pair made light work of a tame Northants attack offering little threat on a placid Wantage Road pitch.

Sangakkara showed his obvious class throughout his innings, his trademark cover drive easing him to a half-century. The Sri-Lankan had added 94 with Steven Davies, who continued his good form with 44, before falling in soft fashion an hour into play top-edging a pull off Crook and being caught at fine-leg.

That brought together Roy and Sangakkara, with the pair proceeding to add 170 in the remainder of the morning and a good chunk of the afternoon. Roy started in his usual positive style racing along at a run a ball, while Sangakkara continued to make batting look easy, Surrey reaching 264-6 at lunch.

Sangakkara reached three figures, the 52nd of his first-class career, by flicking Josh Cobb over midwicket for four. Northants took the new ball straight after but it had little impact, Roy also reaching his century with his 12th boundary, his fifth first-class ton taking just 114 balls.

Such was the ease of their partnership, it was almost a surprise when Sangakkara fell, Crook finding his edge with the first ball of a new spell, Rossington taking a good low catch.

Roy continued, passing his previous first-class best of 121, and with a lead of 128 at tea there was some thought Surrey could declare and attempt to bowl Northants out in the final session, but they decided to bat on.

Roy holed out on 140, hitting Keogh to Crook at long-on, his innings taking just 145 balls. Gary Wilson also completed a first Championship fifty of the season on the way to an unbeaten 74 as Northants recovered a poor over rate after tea before the sides shook hands.

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