Batsman scores 37* from 278 balls but draw means Surrey almost certain of missing out on Division One
Surrey 72 (Barker 4-24) and 122 for 8 (Amla 37*, Barker 3-9) drew with Hampshire 488 (de Grandhomme 174*, Organ 67, Holland 58)
Resuming on 6 for 2, Surrey held on for an unlikely draw, reaching 128 for 8, with former South Africa batsman Amla batting all day to be unbeaten on 37 from 278 balls.
Amla demonstrated incredible restraint to repel an attack that bowled an incredible 64 maidens and more than 500 dot balls in an innings where the hosts were made to pay dearly for three dropped catches.
Despite Amla’s heroics, the result almost certainly ended any chance of Surrey being one of six teams to qualify to play in Division One later in the season and the opportunity to win the title.
Hampshire now require victory over Gloucestershire starting on Sunday, in a potential winner-take-all clash at Cheltenham, to keep alive their season, with Surrey facing leaders Somerset at the Kia Oval.
Amla scored just three runs from the first 100 balls he faced and did not find the boundary rope until the 125th ball of his brave vigil, where he took three heavy blows to the body that had many traditionalists at the Ageas Bowl purring.
Most balls faced in a first-class innings of less than 40:
278 HM Amla (37*) Surrey v Hampshire Southampton 2021
277 TE Bailey (38) England v Australia Leeds 1953
(where balls faced are known)
— Andrew Samson (@AWSStats) July 7, 2021
Following-on after being bundled out for just 72 in response to the home side’s 488, the visitors scored just 18 runs in the first session with nightwatchman Amar Virdi the only wicket to fall.
Ryan Patel should have joined Virdi back in the pavilion before lunch but was given two lives after being dropped by Kyle Abbott, off a caught-and-bowled chance, and Joe Weatherley’s second slip spill.
Although those missed opportunities cost only 14 runs, they crucially allowed Patel to soak up 85 balls before his off-stump was uprooted by Abbott after lunch.
Barker got his third wicket when Jordan Clark was trapped lbw for four, before Organ raised hopes of a home victory when he bowled Jamie Overton.
However, Amla and fellow fellow veteran Rikki Clarke held firm for the final nine overs to see out the draw.
“I did enjoy it,” Amla said. “Every batter that went out there had a plan and [we] tried our best to just block it out. You don’t know how far you can go but we managed to go all the way. We had some nervous moments but the way the youngsters played was fantastic.
“It was a real battle. Everyone wants to score runs, but we had a cause. You need a lot to go your way especially on this wicket. It was up and down and there was quite a bit of rough from the off-spinner.
“The game dictated that we have to save the game. The last thing you want to do is play a couple of bad shots and the game is over by lunchtime. But the way everyone played today we managed to pull it back after being outplayed on days two and three.”