sport

Harinath digs in for Surrey

Arun Harinath struck 63 as Surrey trailed by just 24 runs when rain brought an end to the second day of their Division Two game with Essex.

Opener Harinath was given an opportunity at the top of the order following the fracture in his right knee that forced skipper Graeme Smith to return home to South Africa and his attritional innings lasted four hours and 20 minutes and took up 231 balls. It was a crucial knock when conditions for batting were far from easy as Surrey reached stumps on 204 for six.

The visitors resumed on 55 for three and Harinath and Zafar Ansari set about rebuilding their innings in reply to Essex's 228.

Ansari was given an early scare when he was dropped at slip by Mark Pettini off Monty Panesar on 16, but the partnership came to an end on 71 when part-time spinner Tom Westley made sure Ansari was not given another life.

Ansari had made 39 when he looked to work the ball to the leg side but got a leading edge to a ball that turned from the Hayes Close End and he looped a straightforward catch back to Westley, who took it comfortably above his head.

Harinath and Steven Davies, who has taken a break from keeping wicket in order to concentrate on his batting, ensured Surrey got through to lunch with no further loss although Davies had a narrow escape on four when an inside edge off Panesar just missed his leg stump.

Harinath brought up his 50 from 152 balls with three boundaries just before the interval when he took two off Westley and Surrey went to lunch on 126 for four.

It was slow going on a tricky wicket to bat on but Davies temporarily broke the shackles when Thomas Moore overpitched and he drove for four through cover to bring up the 150, and he repeated the dose with another boundary two balls later.

But Harinath fell shortly after when he pushed forward at Greg Smith and the ball turned just enough to take the outside edge and Pettini made sure he did not drop this one, taking a good low catch diving forward at slip.

New batsman Jason Roy was almost dismissed for a duck but short-leg Ben Foakes failed to hold on to a chance diving to his left off Westley, and Roy was given another reprieve on two when Foakes again failed to scoop up a tough opportunity.

Roy responded by launching Westley straight back over his head into Hayes Close for six but he was trapped lbw shortly before tea by Moore for 25 to leave Surrey on 200 for six, and rain ensured the players could not return for the final session.