v Surrey 19-22 May
Match Report Specsavers County Championship 19 May 2017
Malan combined with his Middlesex sixth-wicket partner James Franklin to add an unbroken 92 through to stumps - cutting Surrey’s first-innings lead to a modest 17 and taking the hosts into the third day on 296 for five.
Just before the close Malan reached three figures from 169 balls and with 15 fours, while Franklin faced only 67 deliveries in his livewire knock worth 63.
Responding to Surrey’s workmanlike 313 all out, Middlesex openers Nick Compton and Nick Gubbins added 20 either side of lunch. Gubbins rode his luck to start, playing and missing he survived three strenuous lbw appeals as the Curran brothers, Tom and Sam, set a stern examination with the new ball.
On 17 Gubbins, moved across his stumps to go lbw after prodding hesitantly outside the line off a late away-swinger – the first ball of the mid-session from Sam Curran.
Curran gave way at the Nursery End to fellow left-armer Mark Footitt, who produced a beauty to account for Compton, the former England bat who ultimately did well to edge to the keeper after the ball lifted and left him off the pitch.
Home No3 Stevie Eskinazi also enjoyed some good fortune. On 29 he was dropped at second slip by Scott Borthwick then, on 41, Eskinazi dragged an attempted drive against Stuart Meaker just wide of his own off stump. Undaunted, the South Africa-born right-hander continued to go for his shots in moving to a 64-ball 50 with nine fours.
In a final session scheduled for 45 overs, Eskinazi – who moved past 1,000 first-class career runs during his stay – departed for 67 after feathering a Footitt leg-cutter to the keeper. He and Malan had added 100 for the third wicket.
After almost two hours at the crease Malan moved to his maiden half-century of the championship summer from 85 balls and with nine fours.
Borthwick then made amends for his earlier blunder by holding a stinging overhead chance in the cordon to account for Adam Voges (9) and give Stuart Meaker a first scalp.
Footitt stuck for a third time by trapping John Simpson leg before as he worked across the line to leg, bringing together James Franklin and Malan, who survived through to stumps.
Surrey, resuming on their overnight score of 265 for five, had earlier conspired to lose their last five wickets for 48 runs and inside the first 90 minutes of the opening session.
Their first-day century maker Kumar Sangakkara started the demise, perishing to the 12th delivery of the morning. Having added a single to his Friday-night score of 113, the Sri Lanka legend, in aiming a back-foot force against Franklin, picked out Ollie Rayner low at gully.
One run later and in his next over, Franklin, the New Zealand left-arm seamer, swung one away from Sam Curran who obligingly followed and edged to Rayner at second slip. Curran walked off with two to his name and the feeling, perhaps, that he might have allowed the delivery to swing harmlessly by.
His brother, Tom Curran, then sparred at a spitting delivery from Toby Roland-Jones and edge into the cordon where Rayner, back at second slip, snaffled his third catch inside 25 minutes.
Gareth Batty, the Surrey skipper, joined forces with Stuart Meaker to post the visitors third batting bonus point before Batty, in aiming a hook against Tom Helm, skied to mid-on where Steven Finn took an excellent tumbling catch.
With 313 on the board, Meaker cut a wayward delivery obligingly to backward point to give Helm figures of three for 81. However, Franklin was easily pick of the home attack with his four for 40 from 15 overs.
The players shook hands on the draw with Middlesex on 92 for two and having turned down the thrills and potential spills of a possible last afternoon run chase.
Despite the batting heroics of Surrey’s Kumar Sangakkara – he hit his 59th and 60th first-class hundreds on the first and third days of the match – it was Middlesex who generally edged events over the four days to bank 13 Division 1 points, while Surrey headed home with 11.
In pursuit of an unlikely victory target of 242 off 39 overs – at an asking rate of 6.2 an over – Middlesex lost opener Nick Gubbins in the fourth over when, in pulling a short one from Sam Curran, he was adjudged caught behind by Ben Foakes behind the stumps.
Soon after tea Nick Compton pulled a Mark Footitt bouncer down the throat of the long-leg fielder to go for 18 and put paid to any lingering hopes of a late afternoon run chase as the hosts batted out time for their third draw of the campaign.
Surrey’s first casualty of the morning proved an unpopular one with the good smattering of supporters sat in the base of the Grandstand, many of whom had turned up on the fourth day to watch Sangakkara bat with the sun on his back.
The Sri Lanka legend, who had posted his second century of the match and his fourth of the season on day three, added only four to his overnight score when he perished in the sixth over of the final day.
Prodding in defence, the 39-year-old left-hander - who is averaging 98.66 after four championship starts for the Brown Caps - followed a James Franklin leg-cutter and edged low to John Simpson, the Middlesex keeper.
Sam Curran and Foakes then combined to see off the new ball and add 83 for the sixth wicket. Both went to deserved 50s, Foakes from 116 balls, while Curran needed only 88.
The stand ended four deliveries before the scheduled lunch break when Curran, pushing forward at one from Ollie Rayner that turned and lifted, feathered to Simpson to depart for 51 and give Rayner his second wicket of the match.
The Middlesex off-spinner bagged a third in the mid-session when he tossed one up above the eyeline of Tom Curran (22) and turned it through the gate to clip the top of middle and leg stumps.
With a lead over 230 and the game seemingly as good as safe, Surrey skipper Gareth Batty departed lbw to a shooting off-cutter from Toby Roland-Jones – who took four for 76 – and a run later, Stuart Meaker was bowled by Dawid Malan, the occasional Middlesex leg-spinner, who skidded one through to clip the top of off stump.
With his side 241 ahead and his partner Foakes high and dry on 67 not out, Surrey’s last man Footitt spooned a catch to mid-wicket to gift Malan a second wicket and leave the hosts with an improbable run-a-ball victory chase that would prove well beyond their compass.