Middlesex v Yorkshire: Middlesex win by 7 wickets.— 30 April 2014
DIZZY: We didn’t get our skills right and we paid the price.
Sometimes in sport you have to accept that the other guy was better than you. It may not be pleasant but it’s a vital part of growing up.
As Joe Root and the rest of the Yorkshire players accustomed themselves to the stinging reality of their unexpected seven-wicket defeat to Middlesex yesterday they could at least be comforted, if that is the right word, that the man largely responsible for their demise had played one of the innings of this or any other season.
Home skipper Chris Rogers made 241 not out off 290 balls to guide his side to a win which had seemed well beyond the limits of possibility when they began their quest to score 472 to win on Tuesday afternoon. The Middlesex opener’s technique, shot selection and temperament were beyond serious reproach. It was, said Angus Fraser, Middlesex’s Managing Director of Cricket, one of the best innings he had ever seen.
In the context of the game, Rogers’ 392-minute effort was magnificent, but it also had to be incorporated into cricket’s almost endless stream of statistics. It was, for example, the 11th double-hundred in the fourth innings of a County Championship match and the tenth occasion on which Rogers has passed 200 in a first-class match. It was the third-highest run chase in the history of the County Championship and also the third-highest at Lord’s as well as being the highest at the home of cricket since 1896.
And yet the strangest thing of all is that Rogers and his colleagues made it look so easy. The line and length of Yorkshire’s bowlers came below the standard Jason Gillespie demands on Tuesday evening but on Wednesday Root’s attack seemd almost powerless to prevent Rogers’ smooth progress to yet another double-century.
The Middlesex skipper had a little help, of course. Eoin Morgan made 27 in a third-wicket stand of 70 and Neil Dexter kept the opener company in by making 72 not out as 145 runs were added in an unbroken stand for the fourth wicket. This assistance, of course, needs to be added to the invaluable 77 made by Sam Robson on Tuesday afternoon. Arguably, it was that opening partnership of 181 which made everything else possible.
The breakthroughs enjoyed by the Yorkshire bowlers in the first session seem distant memories now. First, Malan was lbw on the front foot to Ryan Sidebottom, having added just seven runs to his overnight 28 not out. Around an hour later Morgan was caught at slip by Adam Lyth off-spinner Kane Williamson when the ball looped into the air, very probably off the batsman’s glove.
These, though, were mere punctuation marks in a chapter of cricket history written by Chris Rogers, a view acknowledged by Jason Gillespie after the match.
“It was disappointing in that we gave Middlesex too many four-balls on a good wicket yesterday afternoon,” said Gillespie. “We didn’t get our skills right and we paid the price for that. Our efforts were pretty poor yesterday and our bowlers won’t mind me saying that.
“There were far too many half-volleys and far too many short and wide balls. At first-class level you just can’t do that and I’m hoping that our bowlers will take stock and learn from it. Today they were much better.
“Joe Root will be hurting now but that will stand him in good stead if he has captaincy aspirations. We’ve had a bit of a chat in the dressing room and we now have to regroup for the match against Durham. All I ask is that we learn from the things that we do well but also learn from the occasions when we don’t get it right.”
Yorkshire’s hopes of defeating Middlesex foundered on the broad bat of Australian opener Chris Rogers this morning but there is still a fascinating afternoon in prospect at Lord’s.
Needing 472 to win to achieve a most memorable victory, the home side began the day on 230-1. By lunch they had progressed to 360-3 with Rogers unbeaten on 194 and Neil Dexter on 10 not out.
However, Joe Root’s attack did claim two vital wickets in the session and they will be encouraged by those as they gear up for a crucial few hours.
First, Dawid Malan was lbw on the front foot to Ryan Sidebottom, having added just seven runs to his overnight 28 not out. Rogers and Eoin Morgan then put on 70 for the third wicket before the England batsman was caught at slip by Adam Lyth for 27 when a ball from off-spinner Kane Williamson looped into the air, very probably off the batsman’s glove.
Yorkshire skipper Joe Root kept faith in his slow bowlers for eight more overs and opted not to take the new ball until just before lunch when Ryan Sidebottom bowled a fine set of six deliveries. The hour or so after lunch will surely go a long way towards determining the result of this wonderful cricket match