Ervine avoids last day trouble

England's Mason Crane will make his England Test debut when the fifth Ashes Test begins at Sydney Cricket Ground tonight

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Sean Ervine felt it needed all of his powers of concentration as he played a big part in helping Hampshire to a Championship draw at Surrey.

The Zimbabwean all-rounder hit a patient 80 in a three-hour vigil that lasted 149 balls, with the visitors tasked with batting out the game on the final day.

It was an uncharacteristic knock from Ervine, who is renowned for his quick scoring and big hitting.

But he knew he needed to adapt his game, with Hampshire boosting their promotion hopes by avoiding defeat at one of their rivals.

Ervine said: ‘It was a big effort. It was a flat pitch but it started to grip a bit when we were batting on it.

‘We could have scored a bit more quickly but our major concern was to try to bat out the game, basically.

‘We were always confident we could do it. You have to believe you can do it, otherwise it can go the other way.

‘But I had to rein myself in a little bit. It was a good partnership with Will Smith.

‘It needed a lot of concentration.

‘With the situation and the scoreboard, we had to work hard so we are pleased to do that.

‘But it was a good effort. I would have like to have got to three figures. I guess I will have to wait again.’

In reply to Surrey’s 474 for eight declared, Hampshire resumed their first innings on 167 for three, knowing that a batting collapse could put them under real pressure.

Will Smith (82) and Ervine shared a 66-run stand but Surrey’s hopes of making Hampshire follow on were boosted by three wickets in 29 balls during the morning session.

Ervine then found another reliable ally in Kyle Abbott, and either side of lunch the seventh-wicket pair added 49 in 23 overs before Abbott holed out to long on.

Ervine then departed soon afterwards and Hampshire still needed 31 to avoid the follow on when Brad Taylor was dismissed.

But Danny Briggs (38 not out) James Tomlinson (27) put on 60 for the final wicket as they adopted a sensible approach, before enjoying themselves once they had reached the follow-on target of 325.