Yorkshire 277-2 lead Surrey by 79 runs
Hundreds from both Shaun Marsh and Alex Lees have all but made sure that Yorkshire will escape with a hard-earned draw against Surrey at the Kia Oval despite being forced to follow-on in their Specsavers County Championship match.
At tea on day four Yorkshire were 277 for 2 in their second innings, an overall lead of 79, with Marsh on 124 not out. He and his fellow left-hander Lees put on 215 in 67 overs, a Yorkshire second wicket record against Surrey. The previous record, of 196 between Herbert Sutcliffe and Edgar Oldroyd, dated back to 1922 and was also at the Oval.
Lees, having completed his first century of what has been a difficult, low-scoring season for him, reached 102 from 201 balls before chopping on attempting to cut slow left-arm spinner Freddie van den Bergh.
It was a fine effort from Lees and Marsh, with the five draw points highly valuable to a Yorkshire team who are facing a fight to avoid relegation from Division One in the upcoming last fortnight of the season.
Yorkshire resumed on 59 for one, still 139 runs adrift, and Australian Marsh was largely untroubled as he moved on from his overnight 27. Lees, however, who started the day on 19, was close to being leg-before to Sam Curran’s left-arm seam and swing when on 24 and, after being beaten by the same bowler on 32, he survived a confident appeal for a catch behind off Curran on 33.
At tea Marsh had faced 262 balls, hitting 17 fours, while Lees had included 14 fours in his own determined four-hour innings on a last day pitch that is still a good one for batting. Surrey took the second new ball at 243 for 2, in what was almost certainly a last throw of the dice.