|Scorecard:||Yorkshire v Warwickshire|
|Event:||LV County Championship 2013|
DateLine: 4th August 2013
John Ward at Headingley, Day 3
Close of play: Yorkshire (302 and 148/7) v Warwickshire (309)
Warwickshire played like true champions on the third day of their match with Yorkshire at Headingley. Yorkshire had fought hard to dominate the second day’s play, but the visitors fought back with great tenacity on the third day, first of all with an outstanding ninth-wicket partnership that gave them the lead on first innings against expectations, and then showing as much determination with the ball as Yorkshire had the previous day. Their pace bowler Chris Woakes was at the heart of their effort, with some superb bowling that brought him four cheap wickets, although the day was spoiled by two controversial umpiring decisions, one against each side. Warwickshire turned the game in the morning and evening sessions, before bad light ended play early, and now look favourites to win the match, given dry weather on the final day.
Warwickshire were 221 for eight wickets at the start of play, still 81 runs behind Yorkshire on the first innings. The overnight batsmen Keith Barker and Jeetan Patel had shown some fight the previous evening, and now, against a Yorkshire attack that was lacking some of its drive and persistence from the previous day, they sprung a surprise with a fine partnership. Both handled the bowling with ease, playing confident attacking strokes with good shot selection, and indeed batting better than any of their superiors in the order had done.
Yorkshire added to their own miseries by dropping Patel twice, by Jack Brooks at deep square leg when he had 37, and by Andrew Gale at short midwicket on 42. Patel went on to reach his fifty off 75 balls, but then Yorkshire had a piece of luck they scarcely deserved. Barker chanced a quick two to reach his own fifty, but a fine throw from Brooks knocked the wicket over. The umpire Neil Bainton gave him run out for 49, much to his surprise, a disappointing end to a fine innings. It also brought the partnership to an end at 99.
Patel hammered Ryan Sidebottom for four and six in the same over to take Warwickshire past 300 and into a lead on the first innings, but then edged the final ball of the over to the keeper to end the innings on 309. He had made a fine 63, although marred by the two chances, off 84 balls. Liam Plunkett took four wickets in the innings, while Sidebottom and Steve Patterson had two each. Warwickshire held a slender lead of seven runs.
Warwickshire went further ahead in the brief period before lunch, when they seized the wickets of the Yorkshire openers. Alex Lees (2) edged a swinging ball from Chris Woakes low to first slip, and then Adam Lyth, who as always began the innings positively but with his defence looking slightly fragile at times, was trapped lbw by a yorker from Woakes for 15. Yorkshire went in to lunch reeling on 19 for two. If their match position at the start of play had been over 60 per cent, by lunch it was below 40.
Warwickshire kept up the attack with determination in the afternoon session, while Andrew Gale and Gary Ballance had to fight for survival. Woakes was superb, Barker was very good, but when they had to rest the batsmen finally began to open up. Early in the day the weather had been sunny, but since the late morning the cloud cover steadily darkened, with rain apparently inevitable – and the forecast for the morrow poor. Finally, at seven minutes past three and with the score at 86 for two, with both batsmen on 30, the umpires took the players from the field. At this stage Yorkshire looked to be fighting back successfully.
No time was actually lost, as tea was taken immediately, and after twenty minutes the light was satisfactory again. Immediately Gale and Ballance settled in and kept the score ticking over comfortably. It was quite unexpected when Boyd Rankin made a ball bounce out of nowhere, and Gale could only pop the ball up for a simple catch to gully. He made 34 and Yorkshire were now 95 for three, with again only Ballance of their specialist batsmen left, with Yorkshire’s depleted batting line-up. This was perhaps the real turning point of the day and possibly the match.
Yorkshire’s stocks dropped again as Rashid, before he had scored, attempted a most ill-advised pull off the steep bounce of Rankin, and popped up a catch off the glove to short fine leg. It was an obvious trap and the batsman paid for his folly. The recovery effected by Gale and Ballance was now being wasted. The field closed in and Yorkshire were forced on to the back foot again.
They stayed there. Azeem Rafiq was caught at short leg for 4 off Patel, and then Woakes returned to bowl Ballance (45) off the inside edge with a full-length ball. Yorkshire were now in real trouble at 121 for six. Andy Hodd, by defence, and Plunkett, by attack, set about trying to retrieve the situation. Plunkett top-edged a remarkable six off Woakes over the wicketkeeper’s head, the ball being caught just over the boundary by the Warwickshire twelfth man. Then came the second controversial umpiring decision of the day by Bainton, as Plunkett was astonished to be given out caught at the wicket for 23 off Woakes, obviously believing that the ball came off his body. It was at a particularly bad time for Yorkshire, who were now 148 for seven.
As Sidebottom reached the crease, the umpires reached a decision more to Yorkshire’s advantage in this situation – they decided to leave the field due to bad light. Play was called off for the day at six o’clock, so 16.5 overs of the day’s play were lost. Hodd was left unbeaten with 6 off 36 deliveries, and Yorkshire were 141 runs ahead with only three wickets in hand.
(Article: Copyright © 2013 John Ward)