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Yorkshire draw at Arundel

— 19 June 2014

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Yorkshire’s hopes of moving clear at the top of division one with victory over Sussex were frustrated after they battled to a draw at Arundel.

Scorecard

Knowing they faced a tough task at the start of the day on a slow and unresponsive wicket, Yorkshire battled hard all day but were only able to take wickets as Sussex finished 74 runs ahead on 228 for three.

The draw is enough to move Yorkshire level with Nottinghamshire at the top of the table and they could not be faulted for their effort in pushing for the victory with captain Andrew Gale turning to eight different bowlers and using innovative field settings.

But perhaps the biggest positive from the final day was the performance of off-spinner Azeem Rafiq, who was playing his first championship game of the season while Adil Rashid is absent on paternity leave.

The Barnsley-born spinner finished with impressive figures of 31-6-79-1 and what little difficulty the Sussex batsmen did have were facing him, particularly during a spell either side of lunch.

Resuming the final morning on 21 without loss, still trailing by 133 runs, Sussex progressed comfortably at the start, although Gale posed questions of them by reverted to the famous ‘Wall’ field, which comprises fielders close to the wicket in a semi-circle shape to try and make driving difficult.

It was the introduction of Rafiq in the 17th over of the morning that eventually led to the breakthrough when he struck in his third over with Chris Nash, who had progressed to 53, edging to Adam Lyth at slip pushing forward defensively.

Rafiq could have claimed a second wicket before lunch with Luke Wells, then on 19, giving a sharp chance to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow that he failed to take.

Yorkshire did claim their second breakthrough, but it was not until mid-way through the second session when Rory Hamilton Brown got an inside edge to Adam Lyth’s part-time spin and was superbly caught by Rafiq at leg gully.

Wells was happy to play a cautious innings, taking nearly four hours to reach his half-century, and perhaps ran out of patience just three overs after tea when he was bowled by Lyth pushing forward for 62 in 67 overs at the crease.

Tea:

Azeem Rafiq grabbed his chance to impress but Yorkshire remained frustrated in as they attempted to force victory on the final day of their championship match against Sussex at Arundel.

The 23-year-old off-spinner, playing his first championship match of the season while Adil Rashid is away on paternity leave, claimed an important wicket and took a good catch as Yorkshire toiled away on a flat and slow pitch.

Resuming 133 runs adrift on 21 without loss, Sussex had few problems batting towards an almost inevitable draw and reached tea 49 runs ahead on 203 for two despite Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale trying eight different bowlers in an attempt to make further inroads.

What few problems they did experience was engineered by Rafiq, bowling either side of lunch from the Castle End, who firstly broke up the 66-run opening stand and then helped end a 110-run second wicket partnership.

Rafiq was introduced in the 17th over of the morning and struck in his third over when Nash, who had progressed to 53, edged to Adam Lyth at slip pushing forward defensively.

The Barnsley-born spinner could have claimed a second wicket with Luke Wells, then on 19, giving a sharp chance to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow that he failed to take shortly before lunch.

Yorkshire did claim their second breakthrough, but it was not until mid-way through the second session when Rory Hamilton Brown got an inside edge to Adam Lyth’s part-time spin and was superbly caught by Rafiq at leg gully.

Lunch:

Azeem Rafiq made a crucial breakthrough for Yorkshire as they attempted to battle against a flat wicket to secure victory on the final day against Sussex at Arundel.

  • Resuming the final day trailing by 133 runs on 21 without loss, Sussex made comfortable progress during the morning session as the match seemed to be heading towards an inevitable draw.

    But Rafiq, given his first championship match of the season because Adil Rashid is absent on paternity leave, struck in the 22nd over of the session to break Sussex’s opening stand and keep Yorkshire’s slim victory hopes alive.

    Bowling from the Park End, Rafiq got a full delivery to turn away from Chris Nash’s forward defensive and the edge carried to Adam Lyth at slip.

    Nash had provided the bulk of the runs during a 66-run opening stand, falling for 53 while partner Luke Wells was playing a more attritional role and had reached just 11 after 32 overs at the crease.

    Wells was given a lifeline shortly before lunch on 19 when Rafiq found another edge, only for wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow to miss the catch and punched the floor in frustration.

    He advanced to 26 at lunch while new batsman Rory Hamilton-Brown was unbeaten on 16 as Sussex reached 102 for one, trailing by 52 runs, with a further 65 overs remaining in the day.

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