Adam Lyth lashed his maiden one-day century in Yorkshire Carnegie’s NatWest Pro40 League match against Sussex Sharks at Scarborough – but even this dashing display was insufficient to stave off defeat at the hands of the table-toppers.
Chasing a substantial 255 target, Sussex were well ahead of the rate at 230-5 in 31.1 overs when the heavens opened – and they were winners by 38 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method for calculating rain-hit matches. Lyth was not the only Yorkshire batsman to enjoy himself: Jacques Rudolph plundered his third consecutive half-century in the competition, and skipper Anthony McGrath weighed in with an unbeaten 48.
Yorkshire gave youth its fling by bringing in Lee Hodgson, James Lee and Azeem Rafiq, with Gerard Brophy, Ajmal Shahzad and Matthew Hoggard among those rested. The newcomers all acquitted themselves well.
Winning the toss in front of a 5,100 holiday crowd, Yorkshire were given another cracking start by Andrew Gale and Rudolph - both batsmen regularly finding the boundary in the opening overs from Yasir Arafat and James Kirtley. They had put on 51 by the 10th over when Gale tried a big leg-side hit against Dwayne Smith – only to sky the ball into the gloves of wicket-keeper Andy Hodd.
The run rate slowed down for a while, but Lyth quickly settled in and another good partnership began to develop. The second-wicket pair added 85 in 17 overs before Rudolph swept young leg-spinner Will Beer straight to Kirtley on the square-leg boundary to depart for 68 from 73 balls, with six fours and a six.
McGrath increased the tempo with some powerful shots, while Lyth moved to his half-century off 63 balls with three fours. Such good progress was made that 50 were added in eight overs. A buzz went round the crowd as McGrath launched himself at Kirtley by blasting consecutive sixes over long-off and long-on, and Lyth joined in the fun with a barrage of sixes himself, racing to his century off 89 balls, with eight fours and three sixes.
Lyth ended unbeaten on 109 from 95 deliveries, with eight fours and four sixes, and McGrath’s 48 contained four fours and two sixes off his 37 balls. Lee marked his debut by accounting for openers Hamilton-Brown and Ed Joyce, and when Richard Pyrah had Murray Goodwin caught behind by Jonny Bairstow Sussex were struggling on 73-3.
The Sharks recovered well through an unbeaten 99 from Joe Gatting - the rain robbing him of his century - and a spectacular assault from West Indian Dwayne Smith…who forced spectators to take evasive action as he belted 58 off a mere 22 balls with five sixes and five fours before Deon Kruis had him caught by Rudolph.
By then the game had swung dramatically the visitors’ way, and they would have been odds-on favourites to win a thoroughly entertaining game even without the rain.
Live Picture Coverage From North Marine Road: JAMES BUTTLER
James Lee is mobbed by team-mates after picking up the wicket of Rory Hamilton-Brown
Jacques Rudolph on his way to 68
Scarborough CC groundsman, Micky Stewart (right), sits back to watch the action after preparing the pitch for his final game in charge
Jacques Rudolph climbs a ladder to extract the ball from the sight screen after smashing away a ball in practice ahead of the game
Yorkshire Carnegie won the toss and will bat first in today’s NatWest Pro40 match against Sussex Sharks at Scarborough.
YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE TEAM
Andrew GALE, Jacques RUDOLPH, Adam LYTH, Anthony McGRATH (capt), Jonathan BAIRSTOW (wk), Richard PYRAH, Lee HODGSON, David WAINWRIGHT, Azeem RAFIQ, James LEE and Deon KRUIS.
SUSSEX SHARKS TEAM
Rory HAMILTON-BROWN, Ed JOYCE, Joe GATTING, Murray GOODWIN, Mike YARDY (capt), Dwayne SMITH, Robin MARTIN-JENKINS, Andrew HODD, Yasir ARAFAT, Will BEER and James KIRTLEY.