By Tim Clarke 12/05 Updated: 12/05 22:44
WORCESTERSHIRE director of cricket Steve Rhodes was full of praise for Matt Pardoe after the youngster's defiant innings helped his side cling on for a draw and deny Surrey a remarkable victory at New Road.
If most of the attention on day three had been on Kevin Pietersen's typically flamboyant half century which swung the momentum of the match back towards Surrey, by the end of the final day it was the dogged defiance of Pardoe which was deservedly earning the plaudits.
His obdurate 38 off 108 balls was a stark contrast to Pietersen's assault but Pardoe's stubborn vigil prevented the visitors from claiming a victory which barely seemed conceivable after being forced to follow on 172 runs behind.
But the completion of fluent centuries on day four from Rory Hamilton-Brown (115) and Tom Maynard (143) enabled Surrey to declare on 431-7 and set the hosts an unlikely 260 to win off 40 overs.
That target quickly slipped out of sight as Worcestershire's misfiring top order slumped to 29-3 and then 100-7 to leave the hosts staring at another demoralising defeat.
But Pardoe had other ideas and with the help of first David Lucas (19) and then Richard Jones, with a priceless 20 ball nought, he guided the Pears to safety as they finished on 150-8.
Rhodes, who has opted to persist with Pardoe rather than the out of form Dutchman Alexei Kervezee, was delighted with the manner of the young left-hander's defiant innings.
"The draw was a little bit of a close shot for us being eight down but I think we should commend Matt Pardoe - his innings was fantastic," Rhodes said.
"For a young player he showed a lot of grit and determination, a lot of that resilience that we talk about us needing if we are going to compete at this level. I was delighted with the way he played. Technically he looked good, he left the ball really well, played very straight and he was composed and didn't look flustered."
"It wasn't so much the runs he scored, it was the manner in which he nursed us through a tough situation when Surrey were getting on top and bullying us. He definitely stood up to the test and that shows a lot of skill, mental strength and determination."
Rhodes had hoped his side could reach tea in a position to launch on assault on their victory target but the loss of Michael Klinger (15), Vikram Solanki for a duck and Daryl Mitchell (6) in the space of 11 balls left Worcestershire 29-3 and survival the only objective.
"We needed to get through to tea one down maximum and you can then launch into things in the last session but sadly for us we'd lost three by then," he said.
"Losing those three quick wickets put a totally different slant on the game and then it was a long old haul to stave off defeat."
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