If nothing else, Surrey are unlikely to need Kevin Pietersen to bat again, despite the efforts of Leicestershire to scale the mountain, built almost exclusively by the snubbed and angry batsman’s 355.
Amid all the media hype and brouhaha at the Oval, Leicestershire tried to put aside the distractions of the Pietersen affair to respond well to the challenge of countering Surrey’s 557, which had given the hosts a lead of 265.
Led by Ned Eckersley’s century, they ended day three on 310-5, a lead of 45.
Pietersen had been left just two runs short of Bobby Abel’s 116-year-old record for the highest individual innings by a Surrey player, set against Somerset at the Oval in 1899, when last man Matt Dunn’s brave resistance finally came to an end 4.5 overs into the third day.
Dunn, though scoring only five in 104 minutes, had stayed with Pietersen while a remarkable 139 runs were added for Surrey’s final wicket. Pietersen’s historic knock contained 15 sixes and 36 fours and occupied 396 balls.
While he was unbeaten on the field, he had been battered by the news that England have no interest in his services in the short-term, despite assurances that commitment to Surrey and big scores would put him in the frame for a recall. He filled his part of the bargain, in part, on Monday and Tuesday.
Up in Durham, Keaton Jennings played a major role, scoring 61 alongside their nightwatchman Mark Wood (66) to pull off a six-wicket win over Nottinghamshire. It was a great effort after they had been bowled out for 163, with Vernon Philander taking 3-27, chasing Notts’ first innimngs of 245, in which Riki Wessels scored 117. They then responded by dumping out Notts for 178 (Wessels 42 not out).
‘It was a big partnership,” Jennings said. ‘If we’d lost wickets and they’d got off to a good start, the pressure would have been on but Woody took all pressure off me and the other batters. Not losing wickets here at the Riverside creates pressure on the bowlers. They try to get you out and then things happen.’
Hashim Amla is still waiting to make an impression in his short stay with Derbyshire. He followed up his first innins omne-run with 20 in the second, but to be fair, it was in difficulty rain-interrupted conditions and Derbys were trying to up the pace to make a declaration. He was bolwed for 20 after the openers had effectively shut the door on Northamptonshire. They piled up 407, with captain Wayne Madsen running up 51, and leaving a frustrated Rory Kleinveldt 0-40 from 20 overs. Notts were 40-2 at the close
Ashwell Prince and Alviro Petersen will have their work cut out for them at Old Trafford if they are given the chance by Gloucestershire. The visitors have a lead of 230 with seven wickets in hand going into the final day, and the generosity of their declaration will be important. Earlier, Prince did well with 57, and Petersen not so well with seven as Lancashire scraped together 364, in which only three batsmen passed 20, in reply to Glos’ 388.
Glamorgan face a tough day at the crease to secure their first win of the season, needing 372 to beat Kent. They will have to do it without captain Jacques Rudolph, who fell for 14 just before the close on Tuesday.
Compiled by Mark Salter