Championship title slipping away from Yorkshire's grasp
by John Ward
DateLine: 26th August 2010
Yorkshire easily avoided defeat by Hampshire in their match at Scarborough, which had been restricted to three days by the weather. But they can have gained little satisfaction from the match, from which they gained a meagre seven points when they urgently need victories if they are to win the championship. The big performers in this match were all from Hampshire – big centuries from Jimmy Adams and James Vince, and fine bowling from Dominic Cork. Yorkshire’s only consolation will be that none of their rivals look like finishing their matches either due to the rain – but Yorkshire have one fewer match in which to make up the difference.
Hampshire continued from their overnight total of 367 for three, with Adams on 162 and Vince on 122. Adil Rashid and Ajmer Shahzad opened the bowling; Rashid was still not at his best, though Shahzad occasionally produced a troublesome delivery. For the most part the batsmen progressed fluently, and when after forty minutes’ play Vince lofted a ball from Rashid over long-on for six, the pair overtook the previous all-time fourth-wicket partnership of 263, by Roy Marshall and Danny Livingstone in 1970.
The stand finally came to an end after adding 278. Adams, on 196, tried to on-drive Steven Patterson for the four that would have brought his double-century, but he drove over the top of it and was bowled. His superb innings lasted just over seven hours; he faced 343 balls and hit 27 fours and a six. In the next over Vince reached 150, cutting a short wide ball from Oliver Hannon-Dalby for four. Sean Ervine was soon on the attack, lofting a ball from Patterson over long-on for a very high six. Some of the Yorkshire bowling was most inconsistent, and Vince pulled a rank long hop from Rashid out of the ground for six. But bad balls can sometimes get wickets: after another six off Rashid over long-on, Vince pulled another long hop straight to deep midwicket and fell for 180. He faced 205 balls and hit 24 fours and three sixes. Hampshire were 493 for five.
Hampshire may have intended to declare on 500, but on 498 a good throw from Patterson had Ervine run out for 30, and their captain called it a day. Patterson, with two for 77 off 27 overs, was the only bowler who will not shudder when he inspects his figures. Yorkshire thus had twenty minutes to bat before lunch, with a deficit of 176 and 71 overs left in the match. Adam Lyth and Jacques Rudolph survived safely, if not always comfortably, the score being 27 at the interval.
After lunch Yorkshire showed little fear of defeat, the batsmen playing their strokes with freedom and runs coming quickly. The bowling was mediocre, apart from Dominic Cork, who came tearing in, giving all he had with no real assistance from the conditions. There was a fascinating battle between Cork and Lyth, with the younger man scoring freely and the veteran whistling many balls around the batsman’s ears and making comments with equal facility. The battle eventually went to Cork, but not before Lyth had a brisk 44 to his credit; he fended off yet another short delivery and Adams plucked a superb catch off his bootlaces at short leg. Yorkshire were 87 for one in the 18th over.
After Cork finished his spell – on the whole his bark had been worse than his bite, despite all his effort - the interest in the match rather flagged. Rudolph went to his fifty off 74 balls, but four runs later slashed a catch to point off David Balcombe. Anthony McGrath played a couple of good strokes before the spinner Danny Briggs had him caught at slip for 20. Andrew Gale and the more aggressive Jonny Bairstow had some batting practice, and by tea Yorkshire had reached 169 for three, almost wiping off the deficit.
Ten minutes after tea, the necessary runs were obtained and Yorkshire went into the black. It was now just a matter of going through the motions until the match could be called off, with a Yorkshire declaration at ten minutes to five. Gale went for 24, while Gerard Brophy was lucky to survive a straight-forward chance to slip before he had scored. Some of the Hampshire fielding was poor, as Yorkshire’s had been on the previous day. But Bairstow entertained the crowd with some enjoyable batting practice, reaching his fifty just before the close off 71 balls. Yorkshire finished on 224 for four, 48 runs ahead, when the
teams, as expected, agreed to end the match at the earliest opportunity.