Ollie Rayner eventually won an intriguing battle with Hashim Amla at the Kia Oval as Middlesex completed a 146-run LV= County Championship victory against Surrey inside three days to stay in mathematical contention for the Division One title.
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Rayner finished with seven for 72, and remarkable match figures of 15 for 118, as Surrey collapsed to 238 all out at the end of a steamy day which, up to then, had been dominated by South Africa star Amla's superb 84.
Middlesex had earlier set Surrey 385 to win by declaring their second innings on 235 for nine after batting on for just over an hour in the morning session.
It seemed that Amla's three-and-a-half-hour defiance against Middlesex's frontline spinners, Rayner and slow left-armer Ravi Patel, would take the game into its final day but two more quick wickets followed his departure to the last ball of the 87th over, prompting umpires Jeremy Lloyds and Trevor Jesty to award the extra half-hour.
That was enough to allow Rayner to polish off the Surrey second innings and also earn himself record match figures by a Middlesex bowler against Surrey, beating the previous mark of 14 for 97 by Jack Young in 1948, also at the Oval.
Rayner, whose match haul is the seventh best in first-class matches for Middlesex and also the best for the county since 1955, had a hand in 18 of the 20 Surrey wickets to fall in the game - catching Steven Davies at second slip off Corey Collymore to start Surrey's final slide towards defeat after Davies had scored 38 in a fifth-wicket stand of 86 with Amla.
Patel had made the initial breakthrough, trapping Arun Harinath on the back foot to have him lbw for 23 soon after lunch.
Rayner was then into the action, winning an lbw shout to dismiss Rory Burns for 24 and then following up with the scalps of Vikram Solanki, caught at backward short leg for 14, and Zander de Bruyn, who was expertly held low and one-handed by Sam Robson at short leg on six.
At 102 for four it looked as if Surrey would come quietly, but not for nothing is Amla ranked as the world's number one batsman in both Test and one-day international cricket.
Despite the difficult conditions, with both Rayner and Patel finding extravagant turn from the dry and dusty surface, Amla began to take control while Davies hung on in support.
And Middlesex were beginning to grow anxious about a poor weather forecast for the scheduled final day when skipper Chris Rogers took the second new ball with Surrey 184 for four.
It brought almost immediate success, with Collymore removing Davies in the third over with it, and four overs later the returning Rayner produced a spitting off-break to defeat Amla at last, caught by Rogers at backward short leg after batting for 192 balls and hitting six fours.
Stuart Meaker and Gareth Batty then fell to Rayner in the space of four balls, Meaker caught off bat and pad by Rogers for one and Batty taken at mid-wicket for 11.
Tim Linley edged Patel to second slip to go for a duck as Middlesex moved in for the kill and after a few big hits by Jade Dernbach, Rayner had him skying to cover on 22 to finish with figures of 37.4-14-72-7 to add to his eight for 46 from the Surrey first innings.
The third day began with Middlesex resuming their second innings on 133 for five - an overnight lead of 282 - and Dawid Malan, already 28 not out, set the tone for just over an hour of aggressive batting by going to a 90-ball 50 before being adjudged lbw sweeping at Batty's off-spin.
Batty and Gary Keedy, the slow left-armer who had taken the first five Middlesex wickets to fall on the second evening, bowled in tandem while 102 runs were scored in 19.3 overs for the loss of four wickets.
Joe Denly, batting at number eight because he had been off the field for the entire second day with a bad migraine, played some pleasing strokes in a quickfire 31 before he too was lbw after being beaten by Batty's turn.
James Harris, the nightwatchman, took his overnight six to 24 until he was caught at deep mid-wicket swinging hard at Keedy, whose final figures were six for 101, and Rayner also offered a useful 28 from just 24 balls. Middlesex's declaration came when Rayner was leg-before to Batty, who finished with 3 for 86.