Those arriving at Wantage Road never expected to see anything other than a draw, but they were entertained by centuries for Jason Roy and Kumar Sangakkara on the final day as Surrey and Northamptonshire played out their rain-dominated LV= County Championship match.
The visitors finished on 499 for 6, with Roy completing a career-best 140 alongside the Sri Lankan’s 111. Together they shared a partnership of 170 in just under 36 overs for the fifth wicket and looked utterly untroubled on the most placid of pitches.
When the players headed for the outfield at the start of proceedings, Surrey were 155 for 3 and while Sangakkara edged just short of Rossington on 42 off the bowling of David Willey, only the loss of Steven Davies slowed Surrey up. The former England one-day wicketkeeper fell after a hour’s play hooking Steven Crook to Mohammed Azharullah at long leg for 44.
But from that point on the stroke of twelve o’clock, Sangakkara and Roy played with care as Surrey closed in on maximum bowling points - the summit of their ambition in a match in which 166 overs were lost on the first two days.
While Sangakkara was not at his most fluent on a slow pitch, Roy outdid him with a willingness to come down the pitch to the spin of Rob Keogh. His six into the seats in front of the Lynn Wilson Indoor School scattered those spectators here in reasonable numbers, considering the state of the game.
Both players reached three figures with boundaries of similar fashion. Sangakkara clipping Keogh over mid-on off 174 balls, while Roy powered Azharullah down the ground off 114 balls. Neither looked in trouble until Sangakkara edged behind for 111 to Adam Rossington who took a smart, low, one-handed catch in front of first slip.
Roy saw Surrey over 400 before lofting Keogh once too often over long-on where Crook held on to an impressive, diving catch. His career-best 140 will do nothing but add to his growing admirers.
Once Northants took their sixth wicket and claimed a second bowling point, all that was left was for the home side to ensure no deductions for an over-rate and Gary Wilson to reach his first half-century of the season. Northants move to 2nd in the Division Two table, while Surrey are in fifth, five points behind with a game in hand.