Nick Gubbins, Peter Handscomb give Middlesex a sniff before intoxicating final day ends in draw


Group Two strugglers dig deep after Surrey dangle carrot but chase fizzles out after drizzle

Middlesex 160 (Simpson 68, Clark 4-41, Roach 4-61) and 250 for 6 (Gubbins 124, Handscomb 70, Roach 5-86) drew with Surrey 190 (Burns 64, Stoneman 63) and 259 for 2 dec. (Burns 104*, Stoneman 74)

As Robbie White shouldered arms to a Reece Topley short ball, turning the London derby into the seventh rain-affected draw out of eight County Championship fixtures this week, The Oval breathed a collective sigh of relief. Wild shifts in dominance engineered by high-quality internationals and spirited captaincy were not enough to beat the weather but it was to the credit of Nick Gubbins and Peter Handscomb that a definitive result had been a realistic proposition for so much of the final day.

Handscomb, averaging a wretched 7.50 for the season as captain, had joined Gubbins with Middlesex 47 for 2, needing another 243 to win in a nominal 45.3 overs and with Topley and Kemar Roach finding some assistance under ominous clouds. With little reason to trust in his defence from the evidence of his summer to date, Handscomb decided to attack and the partnership blossomed after tea: Gubbins flayed boundaries through extra cover, Handscomb whipped through midwicket off his pads, and Surrey threatened to lose their nerve.

Gubbins tucked into Amar Virdi – the only spinner used across the four days – by cutting, working, paddle-sweeping and then dumping him into the JM Finn Stand, bringing up his hundred as the floodlights took over by scrambling a single to mid-off. With the field spread, he scampered ones and twos with Handscomb to keep the required rate in check in a stand eventually worth 172 in 33.2 overs, and the equation was 74 to win from 78 balls before a brief stoppage for the lightest of drizzle.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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