Ricky Ponting compiled an exceptional 192 on debut – before a quick-fire half century from Chesney Hughes ensured the four-day fixture with Surrey ended in a draw at the County Ground.
Ponting continued his imperious batting display on the final morning, falling just eight runs short of a double century – hitting 20 fours – as Surrey declared on 553-8 just after lunch, a lead of 101 runs as the visitors sniffed a possible final day victory.
But Hughes, who hit two sixes on his way to an excellent 68, and Billy Godleman remained firm posting 72 for the opening wicket and - despite the fall of two quick wickets after tea - the two Captains shook hands with Derbyshire 63 runs ahead as the entertaining LV= County Championship fixture ended in a draw.
The Derbyshire bowlers started Day 4 well, bowling a tight line to both batsmen, with Mark Footitt twice turning Ponting around with deliveries that bounced sharply on the Australian legend.
The hosts, however, were unable to claim an early breakthrough as the home crowd were treated to a batting masterclass from the Ashes winning Captain. Resuming on 120, Ponting brought up his 150 inside the first hour, fittingly driving through the covers for his 18th boundary of the innings.
Batting partner Steven Davies completed a milestone of his own soon after, reaching his half century from just 46 balls, as Surrey moved onto 452-4 after the opening 16 overs of the day – removing their 90-run deficit in double quick time.
But the former England wicketkeeper was dismissed as Godleman took an excellent catch on the mid-wicket boundary off Wainwright to dismiss Davies for 59, with Surrey leading by five runs.
The morning, however, belonged to Ponting who became the highest individual scorer for Surrey on first-class debut, striking 20 fours on his way to a faultless 192, before he was ran out by Richard Johnson just before lunch.
Surrey resumed after the interval on 517-6; a lead of 65 runs – and the visitors immediately showed their intent with Gary Wilson using his feet to hit Wainwright over mid-on for his third boundary.
But the hosts fought back claiming two quick wickets, as first Wilson struck Wes Durston straight down the throat of Footitt at long-on for 45, before Chris Tremlett was run out by debutant Ben Slater without facing - reducing Surrey to 546-8. Gareth Batty (15*) and Stuart Meaker (3*) saw the visitors to a declaration on 553-8, with a lead of 101 runs.
The visitors would have been hoping for early wickets to force a result from the 60 overs remaining in the match, but Hughes and Godleman made sure that didn’t happen by making a positive start in reply.
The pair exchanged early boundaries, including a huge six from Hughes off Tremlett, on the way to a comfortable 50-run opening stand inside 15 overs. But the hosts finally lost their first wicket in the 18th over when Godleman was trapped lbw by Tremlett for 28, reducing Karl Krikken’s men to 76-1.
Hughes remained firm, however, reaching an excellent half century from just 56 balls – which included two sixes – as Derbyshire entered tea on 101-1, putting the scores level.
Both Hughes (68) and Wayne Masden (8) were dismissed by Tremlett inside three overs after the restart as Surrey sniffed an opportunity to secure an unlikely victory. However, an obdurate Shivnarine Chanderpaul (24*) joined Durston (29*) and together they guided the hosts to safety before the Captains settled for a draw just after 5pm.
Derbyshire now entertain Durham MCCU at the County Ground on Wednesday 5th June, 11am start, before returning to Leek on Sunday 9th June, as the Falcons host Essex Eagles in the Yorkshire Bank 40 at their Staffordshire Moorlands out-ground; 1.45pm to 7.25pm.
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