|Scorecard:||Yorkshire v Somerset|
Toss: Yorkshire, to bat
Lunch: Yorkshire 121/3 off 37 overs (Lumb 1*, Harvey 10*)
Tea: Yorkshire 235/7 off 72 overs (Lehmann 60*, Silverwood 8*)
Close: Yorkshire 296; Somerset 58/1 (J Francis 26*, Ponting 15*)
Yorkshire had a rather disappointing first day at Scarborough against the struggling Somerset team. They failed to make good use of batting first, going out for 296, and even owed that score to a fighting innings from Darren Lehmann, who was not fully fit. Nixon McLean took six wickets, bowling well but flattered a little by poor batting, and by the close Yorkshire had failed to do much damage to the Somerset batting.
The morning was cloudy but the sun was trying to break through as Yorkshire won the toss on a good-looking pitch, though expected to take spin later in the match, and decided to bat.
Yorkshire played three championship debutants in their team: opener Andrew Gale, wicketkeeper Ismail Dawood – both of whom have however played in the county’s recent one-day matches – and 18-year-old Mark Lawson from Liversedge, an England Under-19 player who is a rare leg-spinner to be selected for Yorkshire. Dawood is the first British-born Asian to play for Yorkshire. For Somerset, Australian captain Ricky Ponting was making his championship debut.
Matthew Wood squirted the first ball of the match, from Nixon McLean, past backward point for a quickly-run three. But Gale had an unhappy maiden championship innings, as he moved too far across his stumps to the second ball he faced and was trapped lbw without scoring; Yorkshire 3 for one.
The next runs came in McLean’s next over, as Anthony McGrath placed him through the covers for four, a stroke of perfect timing and placement. In the next over he put Simon Francis away through midwicket for another boundary. On the whole the batsmen batted warily as the ball swung, waiting for the loose ball, but McGrath had a narrow escape on 16. He hooked unwisely at McLean and skyed the ball towards long leg; the wicketkeeper Rob Turner might have just been able to reach it had he gone straight away, long leg was just too far away, and the ball fell between them.
As Francis changed ends, Wood pulled him for a six over midwicket big enough to bounce into the North Marine Road. The fifty came up in the 16th over and the batsmen began to look more fluent. There was an incident when Wood had 41 and both Turner and the bowler Ian Blackwell went up in a triumphant appeal for a catch at the wicket. Umpire Barry Dudleston was adamant that there had been no contact with the bat, but both players stood for some time in the middle of the pitch and passed a few words, which in a Test match would certainly be interpreted as dissent.
Shortly afterwards Wood moved to his fifty off 84 balls, but when on 59 he fell in the manner that had been under dispute earlier: flicking uncertainly at a faster arm ball from Keith Dutch, he was caught at the wicket. Yorkshire were 101 for two.
In his next over Dutch almost took McGrath, who didn’t properly get hold of a full toss, which only just cleared a leaping mid-on. However, two overs later Dutch got his man for 48, playing uncertainly just outside off stump and edging a catch to Ponting at first slip.
Yorkshire were 101 for three, and surprisingly Darren Lehmann still did not come to the crease, McGrath being replaced by the other Australian, Ian Harvey, instead. Harvey successfully slowed the over rate by consistently failing to be ready whenever a spin bowler was ready to deliver. In the final over before lunch Michael Lumb, who came in at five, finally got off the mark with a nudged single off the 24th ball he faced.
After the interval, Lumb was soon driving Dutch through the covers for a handsome four, while Harvey spend some time leaving balls outside the off stump from McLean, who was bringing the ball back shortly enough to have it clear the top of the stumps several times. Then, when McLean pitched one further up, forcing him to play, Harvey (14) played right across the line and was trapped lbw; Yorkshire 129 for four.
Lehmann finally came in, unusually low at number six – the official reason was given as a stiff back - and got away with a slice of luck before he had scored, as he charged Dutch and the ball skidded just past the stumps off the bottom of his bat. However, he got into his stride in the next over, taking ten runs off the luckless Dutch. Relying on his wonderful eye, he took a risk or two in the process. But Lumb (10) was out to a soft dismissal, holding a bat out weakly to a ball from McLean outside his off stump, perhaps trying a gentle nudge to third man which would have brought him no more than a single anyway. Yorkshire were 144 for five and not batting well.
The debutant Dawood came in next – according to experts in the pressbox, the name is pronounced Dah-wood, the original Asian spelling having been Da’oud, although there was speculation from Derek Hodgson that it might have been given the Welsh version of Dai-wood during his stay with Glamorgan. He had to duck hurriedly under a bouncer from McLean first ball.
Lehmann tormented Dutch with the sweep and the cut, often off straight balls, and put him into the crown at square leg for six, removing him from the attack. Dawood did hit an impressive cover drive for four, but on the whole struggled for his 8 before he edged Aaron Laraman low to Ponting at second slip; 174 for six, and Lehmann seemed rather to have lost his touch.
In an interesting gamble, the Somerset captain Michael Burns brought on Ponting to bowl his very occasional medium-pacers to Lehmann, who took only a single off his first over. Despite his slowing down, Lehmann reached his fifty off 51 balls, while Ponting finished his spell of five overs for just 6 runs.
The game went through a quiet period as Richard Dawson (23) played a sensible innings in support of Lehmann, but he spoilt it by having a half-hearted hit at Dutch and lofting a simple catch to McLean at mid-off, not long before tea. Yorkshire were 227 for seven.
Chris Silverwood on two skyed a ball just clear of mid-off, and was fortunate that the fielder misjudged it and was unable to get a hand to it. After tea Silverwood decided on attack, although Lehmann was still there at the other end, but not all his hits were well-judged, and when on 19 he got away with another huge skyer towards long leg that was totally misjudged by the fielder, Peter Bowler being the guilty party on this occasion.
His luck could not last for ever, and when on 26 he drove McLean straight to Ian Blackwell at mid-off, the fielder taking the ball above his head. Yorkshire were 272 for eight. The third debutant, Lawson, soon impressed with some positive strokes in his 11 before becoming McLean’s fifth victim of the innings, trapped lbw; 286 for nine.
Lehmann, on 80, was in danger of missing his century when joined by last man Steven Kirby. Try though he did, Kirby failed to last the course, or even to score, becoming yet another McLean lbw victim without scoring. Lehmann finished unbeaten on 90, and the Yorkshire total was 296, a rather disappointing effort.
McLean, with six for 79 off 22.5 overs, turned in a fine performance with his pace bowling, moving the ball predominantly into the batsman, and getting four lbw decisions from umpire Barry Dudleston. Dutch took three for 87.
When Somerset batted, Kirby again made an erratic start, bowling an outrageous wide down the off side that also went for four, and followed it up with a spate of no-balls. Silverwood did not look particularly menacing, either, until he had Bowler (6) driving outside the off stump and edging a catch to Dawson at third slip. Somerset were 31 for one.
John Francis, Bowler’s opening partner, batted impressively as he worked the ball around the field, keeping the score moving, and Kirby retired with 26 runs off his four overs, to be replaced by Harvey. The match meandered to close of play, with the Somerset batsmen, Ponting now partnering Francis, content to play the bowling on its merits – which meant they had enough loose balls to score from without getting bogged down.
Kirby bowled rather better when he came on from the Trafalgar Square End, and seemed to think he could out-sledge an Australian when he had a go at Ponting. Lawson was given the final over of the day, and conceded just a single – but Yorkshire will need wickets on the morrow.
(Article: Copyright © 2004 John Ward)