If Dimitri Mascarenhas ever needed a victory it had to be in this match. The Hampshire captain is very keen to returnto Jaipur and link up with his Indian Premier League colleagues in Rajasthan Royals for the final stages of the tournament at the end of the month.
But Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove made it clear this week that the player's county needs him more. The pair are apparently scheduled to meet tomorrow to discuss the matter further, but the likelihood is that Mascarenhas will remain in this country. The only possible way that Bransgrove might have been persuaded to change his mind would have been a victory over Surrey in this match.
But the chances are that not even that would have done the trick. As it was, despite a couple of noble innings by Michael Brown and Sean Ervine and a brief explosion by Mascarenhas and Greg Lamb late on, Hampshire had to settle for a draw.
The odds had been stacked against Mascarenhas from the start of this game. Chris Tremlett's first-innings heroics with the ball came at a high price; the England fast bowler suffered back spasms and was unable bat in Hampshire's first innings or bowl in Surrey's second innings. Thus Surrey batted on in the morning long enough to set a victory target of 281 off a minimum of 75 overs.
His troops did rally around Mascarenhas to make a fist of things. The dogged, disciplined Brown resisted temptation and stuck around. There was nothing dramatic in his run-gathering, indeed there was something almost surreptitious in the way he scored but if there were no memorable shots, it was a memorable innings, if for nothing else than its defiance.
Ervine was a little less circumspect, although he still scored his fifty at almost a run a ball. He shared in useful stands with Brown (46) then Mascarenhas (38), but all three were unableto stick it out.
The most telling bowling came from Pakistani off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, who collected the 59th five-wicket haul of his first-class career, which included a wicked spell either side of tea when he accounted for three wickets, including ending the prolific second-wicket partnership between Brown and Jimmy Adams. Hampshire had lost Brown's opening partner Michael Carberry in the third over of their second innings when the left-hander got a good one from Pedro Collins that bounced, moved away and found the edge, wicketkeeper Jon Batty taking the catch.
Brown and Adams then joined forces for 32 overs as they added 96 runs before Saqlain, who had been wheeling away at the Pavilion end for 10 overs trapped Adams lbw.
His departure brought Michael Lumb to the wicket, but not for long. He too fell lbw to the Pakistani off-spinner. When last season's Championship innings are taken into account Lumb's statistics make for worrying reading. In 22 innings to date he has now been out lbw 12 times. After tea Hampshire suffered a further hiccup when Saqlain snaffled his third victim, Chris Benham edging an attempted sweep to Batty.
Brown then followed, another lbw victim for the Pakistani off-spinner when he was half a dozen runs short of what would have been a deserved century.
Mascarenhas followed Brown, holing out at long leg, not long after he had hoisted Saqlain for six over mid-wicket.
In between Jimmy Ormond's off-spin accounted for Ervine, caught at extra cover off a full toss and when the same bowler had Lamb lbw reverse-sweeping the shutters came down and the game dribbled to a draw.Reuse content