|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Kia Oval (day four):|
|Surrey 395 & 324-6 dec: Burns 98, Pope 69, Jacks 54; Harmer 5-88|
|Essex 448: Ten Doeschate 130, Lawrence 93; Morkel 3-97 & 0-0|
|Essex (13 pts) drew with Surrey (11 pts)|
England opener Rory Burns fell two short of a century as county champions Surrey batted through the final day to draw with Essex at The Oval.
Surrey resumed on 68-0, a lead of just 15, but never looked in trouble as they compiled 324-6 declared.
Burns led the resistance with 98 and England hopeful Ollie Pope made 69 before both became two of five victims for off-spinner Simon Harmer (5-88).
Jamie Porter faced one maiden over from Burns before the sides shook hands.
But Surrey captain Burns, who will be hopeful of keeping his Test place for the summer after making six appearances during the winter tours of Sri Lanka and West Indies, will have been pleased to have begun the season with a score to his name.
The 28-year-old, who made 1,359 runs as Surrey won their first County Championship in 16 years last summer, began the day unbeaten on 34 but soon lost opening partner Mark Stoneman, bowled by Australia paceman Peter Siddle for 35.
Ryan Patel soon followed but Burns and Pope then added 127 for the third wicket to calm any Surrey nerves.
Harmer removed both in the space of three deliveries at the end of the 58th and start of the 60th overs.
But there was not to be as thrilling a finish as when Essex triumphed by one wicket when the sides met in the final game of last season, as 54 from Will Jacks and useful contributions from Ben Foakes, Rikki Clarke and Tom Curran meant a draw was inevitable.
Essex were asked to bat for one over, not with the intention of chasing 272 to win in a minimum of 19 overs, but that Surrey could get their over rate level.
Surrey captain Rory Burns told BBC Radio London:
“I thought we were good in patches and slightly off it in patches, but getting a hard-fought draw against a good Essex side is not a bad four days.
“It was always a case of batting the day. It was a pretty flat wicket so we didn’t want to offer them (Essex) up too much.
“I scrapped away and managed to get a couple of scores, which was nice, but I would’ve liked a big one.”