Dramatic finish sees Essex beat champions Surrey by one wicket

Essex's Matt Coles celebrates with team-mates as Surrey's Rikki Clarke (not in picture) is caught ou

Essex's Matt Coles celebrates with team-mates as Surrey's Rikki Clarke (not in picture) is caught out during day four of the Specsavers County Championship Division One match at the Oval. Picture: PA/STEVEN PASTON - Credit: PA

Amid extraordinary scenes at the Kia Oval, Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate’s superb 53 not out from 62 balls earned Essex a nerve-shredding one-wicket win as champions Surrey just failed to prevent the 2017 championship winners from chasing down a target of 132.

Morne Morkel’s four for 28 spearheaded Surrey’s brilliant performance in the field as they strained every sinew to prevent Essex from spoiling their unbeaten record in four-day cricket this summer on a pulsating final afternoon of Specsavers County Championship cricket for 2018.

Jade Dernbach and Amar Virdi also played their part, sharing the other four wickets, and a wonderful finish included a crazy run out of Matt Coles when, for some unknown reason, Ten Doeschate called his partner for a third run when Coles, correctly, shouted ‘no’ as it would have left him with three balls of a Morkel over to survive.

Ten Doeschate, who hit six fours, had driven Morkel towards the extra cover boundary but Mark Stoneman dived to pull back the ball just feet from the ropes and Will Jacks, who had sprinted to support Stoneman, threw to keeper Ben Foakes with Coles stranded.

Suddenly, 122 for eight had become 124 for nine, and Ten Doeschate was left with just No 11 Matt Quinn for company as he tried to get his side over the line.

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A crucial leg bye, gained despite Dernbach barging into non-striker Quinn as he tried to get to the ball, meant Ten Doeschate kept the strike for Morkel’s 12th over and the 38-year-old took a two and a single from the second and third balls to take Essex to within two runs of victory.

That left Quinn needing to negotiate the last three balls of Morkel’s over and, immediately, he needed attention when an 88mph bouncer thudded into the grille of his helmet. Quinn, though, signalled he was fine, bravely played down the next ball and, to the final ball of the over, saw Ryan Patel dive forward from silly point and narrowly fail to take a catch off the batsman’s glove as he fended off a lifter.

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It proved to be Surrey’s last chance to bring off a cricketing miracle, with Ten Doeschate turning Dernbach for the winning boundary in the next over, taking Essex to 134 for nine. Ten Doeschate and Morkel sought each other out to congratulate each other at the end of a superb battle.

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