|Scorecard:||Somerset v Yorkshire|
|Event:||LV County Championship 2013|
DateLine: 31st May 2013
Somerset v Yorkshire
John Ward from Taunton, day 4
Close of play: Yorkshire (450/5 dec and 104/4 declared) drew with v Somerset (310).
Just before one o’clock on the final day, Somerset avoided the follow-on against Yorkshire with two wickets in hand, and thereby ended the match as a contest. James Hildreth, coming back to form with a fighting century, was the man mainly responsible for taking them to safety, as Yorkshire ran out of time to win after the first-day washout.
On a sunny morning, Somerset resumed on 232 for six, with Hildreth on 76 and Craig Meschede 16. Hildreth was on the attack right from the start, playing his strokes and reaching the nineties, at which point the second new ball was taken. He now played with caution, but successfully reached his century off 150 balls. Meschede made 32 of a partnership of exactly 100, a vital stand for Somerset, but he did enjoy some luck, and finally fell to a weak drive, caught at short mid-off off the bowling of Steve Patterson. The total was now 272 for seven, with 29 still needed to avoid the follow-on.
Hildreth and George Dockrell put their heads down and inched their way towards that target, but then at 298 Moin Ashraf produced an excellent fast yorker that Hildreth was too late in playing, bowled out for a fine innings of 115. He faced 174 balls and hit 13 fours. This left the last two, rather shaky, wickets to score three runs, as Steve Kirby came in. Fortunately for Somerset, however, Adil Rashid produced a long hop that a grateful Dockrell could swing round to the long-leg boundary, and Somerset breathed again. A draw was now virtually assured, barring remarkable happenings.
The innings did not last much longer, Dockrell falling for 14 and the innings total was 310, giving Yorkshire a lead of 340. Patterson and Ashraf both took three wickets, and there were two sessions left for play.
There was a chance that the sides might go through the motions of Yorkshire making quick runs and declaring to set Somerset a near-impossible target on a benign pitch, but Yorkshire’s poor top-order batting scuppered that idea, if it existed. Kirby removed Joe Sayers (1) and Phil Jaques (0), the latter suicidally padding up, and Peter Trego trapped Andrew Gale lbw for 4.
Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance dug in, and tea came and went without a declaration, or a reasonable possibility of one. Afterwards Lyth went to his fifty, following his first-innings century, off 106 balls, before Ballance (31) skied a catch off Dockrell. The crowd gradually diminished as somnolence reigned out on the pitch, and the match eventually ended with a token Yorkshire declaration with the score 104 for four, Lyth unbeaten on 57. He will no doubt remember this match better than most.
(Article: Copyright © 2013 John Ward)