Yorkshire have beaten Nottinghamshire by five wickets to reignite their LV=County Championship title challenge. It means that the Tykes have picked up 21 points from the match at Trent Bridge, and will now go into the final round of fixtures only seven points behind the league-leaders and five adrift of Somerset.
Set 209 to win at Trent Bridge, after taking four wickets in the morning session to finish off the home side’s tail, it was Jonathan Bairstow and Gerard Brophy who steered Yorkshire home.
They came together with the side in trouble, on 95-4, before embarking on an aggressive partnership of 97 to ease the nerves. It meant that by the time Brophy was ousted, for 41, the Tykes only needed 17 more runs to win.
Adil Rashid, who made nine, then joined Bairstow at the crease to make sure there would be no late drama, with the York-based right-hander hitting the winning runs to finish on a marvellous 63 not-out. His, and Yorkshire’s, terrific efforts with the bat had followed an excellent bowling display early on.
Two wickets apiece for Steve Patterson and Ajmal Shahzad had made sure that Nottinghamshire could only add 56 runs to their overnight score to set up the attainable victory target.
Yorkshire’s next, and final, championship game this season is against Kent at Headingley on Monday, with captain Andrew Gale knowing that his side are still very much in contention for a first success in this competition since 2001.
Yorkshire’s bowlers have taken six wickets on day two against Nottinghamshire to keep alive their hopes of a vital LV=County Championship victory. It has helped the home side, and current league leaders, close on 357-6 at Trent Bridge – giving them a second-innings lead of only 152 runs.
After the Tykes had lasted only 13 balls with the bat during the morning session, to close on 264 all out with Andrew Gale unbeaten on a career-best 151, it had looked like Nottinghamshire would close with a bigger lead.
Despite losing Alex Hales for 24, to Moin Ashraf, makeshift opener Paul Franks and Mark Wagh then put on 131 for the second-wicket to start cancelling out the 205 run deficit.
Then, after Franks was ousted by Adil Rashid for 79, Wagh and Adam Voges continued the hosts domination to reach 278 for two. Then came the late wickets to put Yorkshire back in control.
At this stage Nottinghamshire’s lead was 73 runs, but when Wagh found substitute fielder Rich Pyrah at long-on off Rashid for 90 the collapse began.
Ajmal Shahzad weighted in with two of the crucial wickets, removing Samit Patel and Ali Brown for only four, before Oliver Hannon-Dalby removed Voges with less than four overs left for 72.
Darren Pattinson, who is on 20 not out, and captain Chris Read, who is unbeaten on 24, then added a quick-fire 28 to the score, but the Tykes are still in command of this match.
How quickly they can remove the home side’s last four wickets on day three will be vital.
DAY ONE REPORT
A dominant display with both ball and bat from Yorkshire has put them in charge of their vital LV=County Championship fixture with Nottinghamshire. After the Tykes bowled the current table-toppers out for only 59 at Trent Bridge, a magnificent century from captain Andrew Gale means that Yorkshire have a first-innings lead of 201 runs after day one.
It could hardly have gone better for the Tykes at Trent Bridge, after Gale won the toss and elected to bowl.
Ajmal Shahzad and Oliver Hannon-Dalby both picked up four wickets, for only 21 and 18 runs respectively, whilst debutant Moin Ashraf also excelled. The 18 year-old fast bowler finished with figures of 2-11 on his first championship appearance as Yorkshire dismissed their hosts in only the 34th over.
The total of 59 represents Nottinghamshire’s lowest championship innings at Trent Bridge since the visit of Middlesex in 1977, but then it was the turn of Andrew Gale to continue the Tykes domination.
After Adam Lyth, for 19, and Jacques Rudolph, for 10, had perished early, the captain played one of his finest innings for the county to reach the close on 147 not out.
He was ably assisted by, in particular, Jonathan Bairstow, who made 36 before perishing, but, in truth, it was a day when all those who were in Yorkshire colours performed well.
At the close the Tykes were on 260-8 with Hannon-Dalby the other man at the crease. It means they have already secured five bonus points from the contest, and are in a great position to try and secure a victory from this game which would be a major boost in their quest to win the division one title.
Andrew Gale’s side travel to Nottinghamshire knowing that victories in their final two LV= County Championship matches will preserve his dreams of lifting the title this season.
Nottinghamshire will believe that a high bonus point scoring victory in one of their remaining fixtures will be enough to return the Championship title to Trent Bridge for the first time since 2005.
Nottinghamshire missed the chance of taking victory at Chester-le-Street against Durham last week and if Yorkshire can win at Trent Bridge this week it will put them right back in the frame with just one round of fixtures still to be played.
In the other crunch fixture Somerset entertain Lancashire at Taunton.
Yorkshire’s final LV= County Championship match of the season is the visit of Kent to Headingley Carnegie between 13 and 16 September.
Andrew GALE (capt), Jacques RUDOLPH, Adam LYTH, Anthony McGRATH, Jonathan BAIRSTOW, Gerard BROPHY (wk), Adil RASHID, Ajmal SHAHZAD, David WAINWRIGHT, Steve PATTERSON, Oliver HANNON-DALBY, Richard PYRAH, Moin ASHRAF.
Samit Patel, Alex Hales, Mark Wagh, Adam Voges, Ali Brown, Chris Read, Steven Mullaney, Paul Franks, Andre Adams, Luke Fletcher, Darren Pattinson, Jake Ball, Neil Edwards