Lancashire battle for a draw

Haseem walks off afterv his superb knock
Haseem walks off afterv his superb knock
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Surrey’s attempt to beat Lancashire and clinch the Division Two title were frustrated at Emirates Old Trafford as the match between the top two ended in a draw in the County Cricket Championship.

Needing a purely notional 492 to win, Lancashire ended the final day of the game on 195 for seven after 18-year-old Haseeb Hameed had made an outstanding 91 in only his third championship match.

Hameed batted all but three overs of the day’s play and faced 234 balls on a day which also provided another illustration of the precocious talents possessed by Surrey’s Tom and Sam Curran.

Tom, the elder Curran, took three for 46 as if in reply to the England selectors who had failed to select him for any of this winter’s representative squads. Sam took just the one wicket but it was that of Hameed, who was caught at leg slip three overs before the players came off for bad light when there were still nine overs left in the game.

The players finally shook hands at 5.45pm, leaving Surrey eight points ahead of Lancashire going into the final games in which Surrey entertain Northamptonshire and Lancashire visit Essex.

The morning began badly for Lancashire who lost three wickets in just over an hour, the first wicket falling to the 10th ball of the morning when Karl Brown was lbw to Tom Curran for 16.

The other two wickets in the session were taken by Matt Dunn, who had Alviro Petersen brilliantly caught by Rory Burns at third slip and Ashwell Prince caught at slip by Kumar Sangakkara in the South African’s final innings at Old Trafford.

Prince received a standing ovation from the crowd and warm applause from Surrey’s players. However, attention then quickly shifted to the visitors’ attempt to win the title less than 48 hours before they play Gloucestershire in the final of the Royal London Cup at Lord’s

Lancashire had the best of the afternoon session and were 163 for four at tea with Hameed unbeaten on 76. The one wicket to fall was that of Steven Croft, who was caught behind by Ben Foakes off a fine ball from Tom Curran after making a diligent 40.

Despite Phil Mustard being caught by Sangakkara off Dunn shortly after the resumption, it seemed likely that the game would end in a draw when the players came off for bad light.

However, after a 40-minute break, the players returned and Lancashire lost both Jordan Clark and Hameed in a tense conclusion to the season at Emirates Old Trafford, but the hosts hung on to keep their hopes alive into the final round.