Surrey 403 Nottinghamshire 218 & 372-6: Patel keeps Notts on top as Surrey miss their chance

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The Independent Online

Nottinghamshire do not look like a side with serious title credentials but, for the moment, they remain top of the Championship. For the first three days here they were outplayed by the team that began the match at the bottom, but Samit Patel, with an unbeaten 134, combined with Graeme Swann to salvage a draw.

Their unbroken partnership of 165 for the seventh wicket put a first win of the season out of Surrey's reach. Given that they had been forced to follow on and then lost two wickets on Sunday evening, it was a meritworthy recovery by the leaders but Surrey will fret about glimpsing a chance and not taking it.

It took them half the season to get off the mark last year, but an attack that not only struggles to take 20 wickets but tends also to give away cheap runs offers scant cause for optimism.

Nottinghamshire's lead is tenuous, reduced to a point by Lancashire's win at the Rose Bowl, with Kent a further point behind. Scoring runs is their problem. No batsman from one to five has made a century this season, although Patel would have batted five had Andre Adams not gone in as nightwatchman.

After both had lost their wickets recklessly in Sunday's horror show, Patel and Swann delivered an immediate retort. As Surrey's bowlers tired, there were invitations they could hardly turn down but they were more selective. Patel numbered 20 boundaries, Swann picked up a six and seven fours in his 68.

Surrey could not find the early breakthrough they needed although after Matthew Wood had edged Chris Jordan to the wicketkeeper it was not long before Adams, after a brisk 58, was yorked by Matt Nicholson. Patel and Adam Voges then steered Nottinghamshire towards safety, adding 69 for the fifth wicket.

l Gloucestershire's 10th-wicket pair of Anthony Ireland and Ian Saxelby defied Middlesex for 22 overs to earn an unlikely draw at Bristol. It looked all over for the home side when they slumped to 147 for 9. But Ireland survived 91 balls and 19-year-old trialist Saxelby 67 of his own in a nail-biting finish.

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