HASHIM Amla led Surrey’s rearguard action with huge skill and commitment as Essex were forced to accept a final day draw in their LV= Insurance County Championship match at the Kia Oval.

In truth, it was the loss of the whole of day three to bad weather which really cost Essex the chance of adding a third successive Division Two victory to wins against Glamorgan and Gloucestershire in the past fortnight.

But Amla’s impressive batsmanship, which saw him make 34 not out in a second innings total of 113 for 2 after scoring 84 first time around, was the main reason they were unable to bowl Surrey out twice after the home side resumed on 107/7 and initially reached 161 in reply to Essex’s first innings 439.

Both before and after Surrey followed on, it was 38-year-old Amla who presented the broadest of bats to Essex’s classy bowling attack before hands were shaken at 4.34pm, with 17 overs unbowled. Essex take 12 points, and Surrey six.

First, Amla resisted for almost 40 overs at the start of day four before being ninth out when adjudged leg-before to Simon Harmer, the off spinner finally winning an appeal from around the wicket when the former South African great went back and across his stumps as he looked to whip to leg.

Amla had started the day on 58 and, in all, occupied the crease for five and a half hours for his 209-ball 84 having arrived as early as the second over of the innings at number three.

Then, when Ryan Patel edged Harmer to slip to go for 17 to leave Surrey on 28/1, after they had been asked to follow on 35 minutes into the second session and with a minimum of 53 overs remaining, it was Amla who again stood firm.

Cameron Steel fell 13 overs later for 28, shouldering arms to seamer Shane Snater and seeing the ball nip back to rattle his off and middle stumps, but Amla was joined by Ollie Pope in a third wicket alliance that saw out the game.

Pope finished on 27 not out, hitting six fours in a 52-ball knock, while Amla was unbeaten across 97 minutes and 72 balls second time around, stroking five fours.

It was a demonstration of defensive batting from Amla which recalled his epic 37 not out from 278 balls in almost six and a half hours of defiance that snatched Surrey an unlikely draw against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl in the first week of July.

And in the final moments of this match Amla even had the pleasure of facing two balls from Alastair Cook, the second of which he pushed for a single, as the former England captain bowled what proved to be the last over of a contest ruined by the heavy rain of Tuesday.

James Taylor, the young Surrey fast bowler, also deserved credit for his 117-ball 19 earlier in the day, after resuming on two, and he kept Amla company in a staunch effort over almost two hours before mis-hitting Snater to cover.

Dan Moriarty was the final Surrey first innings wicket to fall, caught behind for eight off Jamie Porter, who took 3/27. Harmer finished with 3/49 from 31 overs, Sam Cook 2/31 and Snater 2/22.