Ultimately, neither Derbyshire nor Surrey could fashion a first win of the season, although after Ricky Ponting's impressive debut Surrey will expect to correct that deficiency in at least one of the four remaining Championship matches for which the former Australian captain is available.
Ponting's 192 ensured Surrey would avoid a third straight defeat and they felt that had half the first day not been lost to the weather they might even have closed out a victory. Yet Derbyshire were adamant that such an outcome would have been an injustice, with head coach Karl Krikken insisting that there were two occasions when Ponting should have been given out lbw soon after passing 50, and fearing his county's "small-town" status in the First Division is counting against them in their bid to survive.
"We were unlucky with a couple of lbw decisions when the video shows that Ponting should have been out," Krikken said. "It is always a David and Goliath thing with us and I think it has to be documented that we seem to be on the wrong end of some decisions because we are a small-town club."
It was regrettable that Derbyshire should feel aggrieved because in every other respect, Ponting's performance was magnificent, putting him level with Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar on 81 career first-class centuries. Although the finale was self-inflicted, run out at the bowler's end from his own call, it matched Shivnarine Chanderpaul's 129 as the innings of a master craftsman.
Ponting was keen to stress that his desire to put Surrey's season back on track stands ahead of personal achievement. "I finished the season in Australia really strongly so I have good confidence in my game but it is not about how many runs I score, it is about how many games the team wins," he said.
"We are six games into the Championship with no wins but we feel this is the closest we have been and things started to turn around in the last half of the game. That's why I'm here, to make an impact and to try to help Surrey win some games."