Middlesex v Yorkshire (Day 3) Close:— 29 April 2014
Having dominated most of their LV= Division One match against Middlesex at Lord’s Yorkshire’s cricketers are under no illusions that they have a very great deal of work to do if they are to achieve the win that would further reinforce their credentials as challengers for the 2014 County Championship.
In mid-afternoon on the third day of the game at Lord’s Joe Root’s men were comfortably in the ascendant. A memorably thunderous assault by Gary Ballance – his century will live in the memory quite regardless of the result of this game – had enabled Yorkshire to set their hosts a mountainous 472 for victory.
With the White Rose seam attack chomping at the bit as they considered the prospect of taking further wickets, the most pressing concern for Yorkshire supporters visiting London was how they might negotiate the tube strike. Middlesex supporters were openly dismissing their team’s chances.
Well, it all looked very different 38.3 overs later after Middlesex openers Chris Rogers and Sam Robson had added 181 runs on the benign and balmy evening at the home of cricket. Even the loss of Robson, caught at slip by Gary Ballance off Jack Brooks for a fine 77, did not derail Middlesex’s pursuit.
Instead Rogers was joined by Dawid Malan and the pair had taken the score to 230-1 at stumps. It was not that Yorkshire’s seven-man attack had bowled badly; it was more that the home batsmen, taking advantage of the lack of cloud cover, had batted in a manner unrecognisable from their craven collapse yesterday morning.
Rogers, who knows a thing or two about batting for a long time, is 122 not out. Malan is unbeaten on 28.
Middlesex supporters can dream; Yorkshire diehards may have nightmares; the neutrals can’t wait for the last day.
Yes, for the non-aligned the fourth morning now offers the prospect of the home batsmen attempting to overhaul a huge target. Only once in their history – at Taunton in 2009 – have Yorkshire conceded more runs to lose a game in the fourth innings. The odds of the professional gamblers would still be heavily on a Yorkshire victory. All the same, it is a different game now.
And, indeed, it is a far different contest from the one being played in NW8 for half of Thursday’s cricket when Yorkshire’s batsmen piled up the runs in a manner far removed from their struggles on the first day of this game.
Beginning the day on 213-4, Root’s batsmen asserted their dominance in uncompromising fashion and had extended their lead to 388 by lunch.
They lost nightwatchman Steve Patterson, caught behind by John Simpson off Neil Dexter in the first over of the day but that reverse only brought Adil Rashid to the wicket and his sparkling stand of 72 with Ballance in fewer than twenty overs was the highlight of the session.
Rashid hit eight fours in his 58-ball 43 before he edged an attempted drive off Tim Murtagh to John Simpson and Andrew Hodd’s brisk stay ended by Steven Finn on the stroke of lunch when he was caught by James Harris running in from midwicket, to take a ball which had dollied up off Hodd’s bat.
Yet all of this cricket will pale in the recollection when set beside Ballance’s bombardment in the early afternoon. Having reached his fifty with a six off spinner Ollie Rayner, the England batsman had gone in for lunch on 62 not out with Yorkshire on 333-7
But the loss of Liam Plunkett and Ryan Sidebottom served to unleash him from the confines of rectitude. Joined by Jack Brooks,
the 24-year-old decided to take matters into his own hands by thrashing another 56 runs off 21 balls in a last wicket stand of 66 with Yorkshire’s No11.
That occupied took just 5.4 overs and Ballance whacked five sixes and four boundaries in his remarkable onslaught on Rogers’ attack. Yorkshire were eventually bowled out for 416 when Ballance was caught at third man attempting to guide Tim Murtagh for yet another four.
He had made 130 off 143 balls, hitting 15 fours and five sixes – 96 of his runs, in other words – in the process. He may also have cemented his place in the England line-up for the forthcoming one-day internationals and Test matches.
Surely, we thought, he had also set up a platform from which Yorkshire could complete their second victory of the season. We may have to think again.
Gary Ballance launched a pulverising assault on Middlesex’s bowlers as Yorkshire set the home side a distinctly improbable 472 to win in their LV= Division One match at Lord’s.
The dismissal of both Liam Plunkett and Ryan Sidebottom for single-figure scores had left Joe Root’s men on 350-9 seven overs into the afternoon session, representing a lead of 405.
That was formidable enough but it was clearly not quite up to Ballance’s requirements. So the 24-year-old decided to take matters into his own hands by thrashing another 56 runs off 21 balls in a last wicket stand of 66 with Jack Brooks.
That occupied took just 5.4 overs and Ballance whacked five sixes and four boundaries in a murderous, morale-destroying onslaught on Chris Rogers’ attack. Yorkshire were eventually bowled out for 416.
By the time he was caught at third man attempting to guide Murtagh for yet another four, Ballance had made 130 off 143 balls, hitting 15 fours and five sixes – 96 of his runs, in other words – in the process. He may also have cemented his place in the England line-up for the forthcoming one-day internationals and Test matches.
However, the Middlesex openers were undeterred by the huge task they faced. Both Sam Robson and Chris Rogers were 39 not out as the home side made brisk progress to 78-0 off 19 overs at the break.
Having established a measure of control in the first two days of this match, Yorkshire’s cricketers asserted their dominance in uncompromising fashion on the third morning of their LV Division One encounter against Middlesex at Lord’s and had extended their lead to 388 by lunch. A declaration may be rather imminent
Beginning the day on 213-4, the visitors lost Steve Patterson, caught behind by John Simpson off Neil Dexter, in the first over of the day. However, that only brought Adil Rashid to the wicket and his partnership of 72 with Gary Ballance in fewer than twenty overs was the highlight of the session.
Rashid hit eight fours in his 58-ball 43 before he died as he had lived, edging an attempted drive off Murtagh to Simpson.
Nor did the loss of a sixth wicket stem the flow of runs from the Yorkshire batsmen. Andrew Hodd made a breezy 22 but was out on the stroke of lunch, caught by James Harris running in from midwicket, to take a ball which had looped up off Hodd’s bat when he attempted to work a shortish delivery from Steven Finn to the leg side.
All the morning Ballance had been playing with carefully measured aggression, reaching his fifty with a six over wide long on off the spin bowling of Ollie Rayner. The England batsman went in to sample the legendary Lord’s lunch on 62 not out, having added nine boundaries to his maximum.