Darkness descends as draw denies grandstand finish
— 3 September 2011
Yorkshire set Warwickshire 349 to win on the final day at Edgbaston but bad light ended play with 3 wickets down and Warwickshire requiring 135 from 20.4 overs. It is difficult now to see how the Tykes can avoid relegation.
(PHOTO: Joe Sayers displayed the battling spirit he had in Liverpool as Yorkshire continue their fight to beat the drop at Edgbaston)
Ajmal Shahzad made an early breakthrough for Yorkshire when Varun Chopra edged behind for 4 playing a loose drive. Warwickshire were 5-1 and the buzz amongst the Yorkshire fielders could be felt high up in Edgbaston’s sparkling new media centre.
Will Porterfield and Ian Westwood regrouped and at lunch Warwickshire were 35-1. They progressed to 87-1 when Westwood played back to Rashid and was lbw for 31. Will Porterfield looked in fine form but 3 overs later he edged Steve Patterson behind for 47 and at 89-3 Warwickshire had given the Tykes a glimmer of hope.
But that man Shiv Chanderpaul was joined by Jim Troughton. At 128-3 the match was drifting as tea approached. Warwickshire were not obviously going for the 221 more runs they required to win in the remaining 37 overs (minimum) and Yorkshire were not causing too many problems. The draw was favourite.
At tea Warwickshire were 134-3 and Chanderpaul and Troughton notched their fifty partnership after the break. It had taken them 100 balls which didn’t suggest that the Bears were too interested in the victory target.
At 4.30pm Joe Sayers left the field and returned to have a long chat with Anthony McGrath and then Jim Troughton, the Warwickshire captain, got involved too.
In Joe Root’s next over Chanderpaul hit successive sixes and then Adam Lyth was put on to bowl from the Birmingham End. It appeared that Yorkshire had offered Warwickshire the carrot of part-time spin to boost the run-rate and induce wickets – it was the only hope!
173 runs required off 25 became 138 runs off 23 overs and Sidebottom came back with Warwickshire definitely taking the bait.
But then another twist – the light had deteriorated and the umpires were forced to take the players off. Both teams would have stayed out there and although the rule that it is the upires decision alone makes sense in many scenarios and they have to be consistent throughout the summer, in a situation where both teams would like to continue there should be scope for umpires discretion. The light robbed the Tykes of any chance and now relegation seems a certainty.
Yorkshire started the day with a lead of 282, but the first task was to see Gary Ballance to a maiden Championship century. He duly obliged when a typically solid cover drive took him to 102 not out.
Fast runs were the order of the day as the Tykes sought to build a lead that would then give them enough time to take 10 wickets to secure a victory that would keep their fight against relegation alive.
Ballance fully deserved his three figures after a magnificent first 1st Team season where he has been the height of consistency. He’s a a youngster that looks the real deal.
The innings ended though when he tried to hit Woakes over the top and was comfortably taken by Troughton at mid-on. His innings of 111 had taken 159 balls, included 13 fours and obviously meant a lot to the Zimbabwean-born English qualified left-hander.
Ballance and Rashid had added 188, a record Yorkshire stand against Warwickshire for the 6th wicket beating Gary Fellows and Richard Blakey’s stand of 175 at Edgbaston in 2002.
Rashid went in the next over when he tried to drive Wright over mid-off only to be caught spectacularly by Troughton who ran around to his left and took the catch with a full length dive. Rashid had made 82, his best innings of the season and like Ballance had stood up when it really mattered.
Ryan Sidebottom blasted Wright over mid-off to speed things along, but 50 runs had been added in fifty minutes. No one was getting a nosebleed at that pace and the two opening bowlers, Shahzad and Sidebottom, would surely be better used with the ball.
Sidebottom skied Woakes to Metters at mid-wicket and was gone for 14. The lead was 344. Shahzad crashed Woakes down the ground to take the Tykes 348 ahead and the declaration came.
It has been Yorkshire’s day at Edgbaston and arguably the best of the season so far given the circumstances and pressure the match is being played in. Yorkshire quickly saw off the last 4 Warwickshire wickets and then compiled 319-5 to leave themselves 282 runs ahead with a day to play.
Gary Ballance is 92 not out and Adil Rashid is unbeaten on 62 after the pair added 149 for the 6th wicket. Earlier Anthony McGrath made 57.
Yorkshire had started Day 3 knowing that nothing less than a win was required and that early wickets were crucial. Tim Ambrose added just 1 to his overnight 68 when he was caught by Gary Ballance in the gully to give Ryan Sidebottom his fifth wicket.
Moin Ashraf bowled beautifully to have Chris Woakes caught behind for 5 and then Keith Barker wafted airily at a ball down the leg-side and nicked behind to Jonny Bairstow to make the Warwickshire total 301-9 after being 272-4.
Ajmal Shahzad rounded off the Bears innings when he had Rikki Clarke, who had threatened a late order blitz, lbw for 23 as Warwickshire were dismissed for 318 with a lead of 37 runs. The last 6 wickets had fallen for only 46 runs in 15.3 overs.
So it was over to the batsmen to secure a big enough lead to ensure victory and Joe Sayers and Joe Root began confidently enough to see Yorkshire to lunch at 42-0. In the context of the match it had been the best session of the Tykes season.
But it wouldn’t be a Yorkshire summer if the good wasn’t followed by the bad and with the third ball after lunch Sayers (23) edged to Varun Chopra at slip and then Adam Lyth, who had been hit on the head by a Wright bouncer with his first ball, was lbw for a second ball duck although there were indications that he had got bat on ball.
Joe Root and Anthony McGrath then combined to add 50 for the 3rd wicket before Root fell lbw to Metters for 49. Jonny Bairstow hit his customary full blooded drives including one straight six off Metters before he tried to repeat the stroke and was caught at deep mid-wicket by Keith Barker having made 21. A lead of 250-plus was a necessity one felt and that landmark was still some distance away.
Yorkshire resisted another batting collapse thanks to Anthony McGratjh who made a dashing 57 before Wright had him lbw to take the score to 170-5. McGrath is getting back into serious touch hitting 6 fours and 1 six, but his departure just shy of the tea interval halted Yorkshire progress to a commanding lead.
Much depended on Gary Ballance (15*) and Adil Rashid (6*) who saw the Tykes through to 177-5 at tea with a lead of 140 runs.
These days Ballance rarely disappoints. He’s grown in stature as the summer has progressed and today was joined by a resurgent Rashid in the evening session as the Yorkshire lead grew. Ballance secured his 12th first-class fifty of the season in 78 balls which included 6 fours as he wasted few scoring oppotunities. A textbook cover drive brought up the hundred stand with Rashid in 151 balls, but more importantly had given Yorkshire hope.
An equally proficient Rashid cover drive in the next over took him to 50 in 77 balls with his fifth four. Just as his team needed, he was playing his best knock of the summer. At the other end Ballance was starting to crunch the ball – a cover drive off Woakes would be on its way to Leeds had the advertising hoardings not stopped its path.
Ballance rocked back and cracked Metters to the mid-wicket fence as one started contemplating what would have been a very deserved maiden Championship hundred. Rashid cut Wright for four as he grew in confidence and then played the shot of the day as he on-drive for another boundary.
What would Yorkshire set Warwickshire, who would be duty bound to chase for victory or their Championship dreams would suffer? The thought of Day 4 made eyes water in anticipation. Ballance equalled his career best 87 with a glance to deep square and bettered it with a flick the same way.
With just 2 overs to play however there was not enough time for him to reach the three figure landmark he’d been craving since May. Ballance will resume tomorrow after a nervous night on 92 not out with Rashid on 62 in what has become a nerve jangling encounter.
JAMES BUTTLER at EDGBASTON
DAY TWO REPORT
Yorkshire’s Division One status is hanging by a thread tonight after Worcestershire took 22 points from their victory at New Road over Lancashire. Elsewhere Hampshire have been piling on the runs against Somerset at Taunton.
It now seems likely that the Tykes will have to win their current game against Warwickshire and the match against Somerset next week to preserve their top flight status.
Victory at Edgbaston over the next two days would see Yorkshire move within one point of Worcestershire, who still have two games to play as opposed to Yorkshire one. At the Close on Day 2 Warwickshire are 281-6, level with Yorkshire, but with 4 first innings wickets remaining.
At the commencement of Day 2, Yorkshire’s hunt of the third batting bonus point was curtailed when they were bowled out for 281 on the second morning after Ryan Sidebottom (19) and Steve Patterson (15 not out) had threatened to stall the Bears with an annoying 9th wicket partnership. Sidebottom was caught behind when trying to smash the leather off a Rikki Clarke delivery and Moin Ashraf followed the same way four balls later.
Warwickshire progressed to 55-2 at lunch after Varun Chopra edged Ajmal Shahzad behind and Will Porterfield found Anthony McGrath at second slip off Sidebottom.
When you are trying to win matches to avoid the drop you don’t need to see Shivnarime Chanderpaul marking his guard with a bail twice in a fortnight. He joined forces with Ian Westwood to add 67 for the 3rd wicket before the latter was caught by Adam Lyth off Sidebottom for 55 in 108 balls including 7 fours, one of which a majestic pull in front of square off Shahzad. Jim Troughton made 18 before nicking the impressive Moin Ashraf behind and Warwickshire were 142-4 at tea, still 139 runs behind.
By then the Yorkshire side would have known of Worcestershire’s success, but Chanderpaul was booked in for the duration after his 193 at Headingley last week. His fifty came in 116 balls and included 3 fours and with Tim Ambrose, who was driving beautifully and definitely not going to go quietly, they were not going to do Yorkshire any favours. Whereas the Worcestershire win was the result a depressing result for Yorkshire, Warwickshire were buoyed by the fact that they were becoming front-runners in the quest for the top spot.
Chanderpaul and Ambrose reached their fifty partnership came as they moved with 100 runs of the Tykes first innings total. The diminutive West Indian left-hander lashed Rashid over long-on for six as he went into the seventies and Ambrose reached his half century in 93 balls.
Yorkshire required Warwickshire to perform the kind of batting collapse they mastered so effectively in the evening session on Day 1, but there was no sign of the slide starting as Chanderpaul hit another straight six, this time off Joe Root, to bring up his hundred partnership with Ambrose in 117 balls.
Chanderpaul never seems to tire of scoring runs – he’d make the ideal subject for a battery advert – and when he hooked Shahzad for four he raised his bat for his second century in a week in 176 balls including 7 fours and 2 sixes.
Yorkshire took the new ball after 80 overs with the score on 268-4 and Chanderpaul stroked it sweetly to the cover fence, but then edged to Sidebottom to Bairstow and was on his way for 110.
Nightwatchman, Chris Metters, was lbw to the first ball of the final over of the day with the scores level to signal the close with Ambrose unbeaten on 68.
It was Sidebottom’s 50th Championship wicket at 24.54 apiece of a very consistent summer. Yorkshire need more from their spearhead tomorrow as there is a lot of work still to be done if Yorkshire are to save their season.
JAMES BUTTLER at EDGBASTON
DAY ONE REPORT
Yorkshire were 254-8 at the Close on Day 1 after at one stage being 182-1. Warwickshire were disciplined with the ball and once Adam Lyth (74) and stand-in skipper, Joe Sayers, had been dislodged the Bears reaped their reward for excellent control.
Warwickshire won the toss and asked Yorkshire to have first go on a green tinged wicket. It was a big test for the Tykes and Joe Sayers and Joe Root were understandably circumspect, but wasted few run scoring opportunities as they guided the score to 36-0 after the first hour.
Root (18) attempted to off-drive Rikki Clarke only to inside edge the delivery onto his stumps to reduce Yorkshire to 48-1. That brought Adam Lyth to the crease, ignored in recent weeks after failing to continue the fine form he showed last year. When playing well, as he has shown signs of doing in recent weeks, he is a massive plus to this Yorkshire side because he naturally scores quickly.
The Tykes lunched on 83-1 with Sayers unbeaten on 47, but it was Lyth post lunch who drove the Tykes forward, an edge to 3rd Man bringing up three figures on the scoreboard. Sayers seemed stuck on 47 when a huge appeal for caught behind off Wright was turned down.
The 27-year-old remained his customary unflappable best and 25 minutes after the break pushed a single to move to 48. He then aimed a cut which raced to the 3rd Man fence to bring up his fifty in 117 balls with 7 fours. He barely raised a smile – he looked set for the long haul.
During the afternoon session Lyth took more control in what was an important innings for the Whitby-born left hander. His trademark punches through the off-side were in evidence as he cantered through his often danger zone around 30 and looked every inch the player who score runs in abundance in 2010.
Sayers went just before the tea interval having made 86 vital runs. He dabbed at a ball from Metters and was caught by Rikki Clarke at first slip. Revelling in his brief role as skipper he had laid the foundations well for his side during his 193 ball stay.
At tea Yorkshire were 186-2 with Lyth unbeaten on 61 and joined by Anthony McGrath. After the break, Wright had just been struck beautifully through the covers by McGrath when he fiddled outside the off-stump at a shorter delivery next up and was caught at second slip for 8. Bairstow had made 1 when he aimed a cut at Metters and was well caught at slip by Clarke for 1.
It got worse four balls later when Metters had Lyth lbw for 74 and Yorkshire were 210-5 and throwing away the initiative. Metters had 3-40 and was getting some turn and bounce. Had Yorkshire missed a trick in leaving David Wainwright out for an extra seamer?
Gary Ballance and Adil Rashid, both new at the crease, were left to regroup against the second new ball. But Rashid did a McGrath and 3 balls after stroking to the point boundary he fenced at Barker and Clarke pouched again at 2nd slip. Ballance edged Woakes to Metters at gully and Yorkshire had lost 6 wickets for 48 runs in 23.5 overs. The script of the season was being followed again.
Ajmal Shahzad can be destructive and he threatened to counter attack. He drove Barker through the covers for 2, cut for 4, drove straight for 2 and again for 4 as he took 12 from the 91st over. Sidebottom then planted his right size thirteen and drove Woakes to the mid-off fence to bring up the 250 in the 92nd over and secure Yorkshire’s 2nd batting bonus point.
Shahzad (15) could not maintain the push for runs. Barker had been replaced by Clarke who bowled a more probing line before inducing an edge with was caught be Will Porterfield at 3rd slip.
Although Sidebottom and Steve Patterson hung on until the close it will be with the ball tomorrow that they will be most important if Yorkshire are going to remain alive in Division One and in this Edgbaston contest.
JAMES BUTTLER at EDGBASTON
Fine and dry at Edgbaston this morning so we will start on time at 11am in this crucial Championship match. It’s crucial for both sides with Warwickshire gunning for the title and the Tykes fighting to escape the trap door.
Follow the day’s play here on the Yorkshire website or get regular news and updates on the official twitter feed.
Joe Sayers was yesterday confirmed as the man tasked with leading the Yorkshire side to Edgbaston in the absence of Andrew Gale (broken arm) and Jacques Rudolph (attending a South African training camp).
Joe Sayers said after leading Yorkshire to victory against Worcestershire on Monday in the CB40: “It’s been a proud moment for me to captain the team in the CB40 but also great news on a personal level to find out that I’ll be captain for the 4-day match this week as well.”
It would be nice to say that the task facing Sayers’s team is simple, but a glance at the Division One LV= County Championship season shows that even two wins in the final two matches of the season would not guarantee Yorkshire freedom from the drop.
The task is to stay positive, glean as many points as possible from the remaining fixtures against Warwickshire and Somerset to make it as difficult as possible for Worcestershire and Hampshire to overhaul their tally in their remaining three fixtures.
Sayers remains upbeat: “I think certainly we need to win the game this week. Points for a win in Championship cricket can jump you up the table and that would put pressure on Worcestershire and Hampshire beneath us if we can get that win. From my point-of-view I’ll be looking to encourage the team to relax and have faith in their ability – just go out there and play and enjoy the occasion. We must remain positive in mood, relaxed in play and full of faith that we can pull ourselves out of this difficult situation. So for the next week I’ll be doing all I can to encourage that kind of atmosphere in the dressing room.”
Yorkshire are in 8th place, just two points behind Worcestershire who have a game in hand. Hampshire in 9th are 20 points adrift with a game in hand.
There was a feeling that poor weather on Day 4 of the clash between Hampshire and Worcestershire last week, which denied the Pears a win, effectively gave Yorkshire a ‘get out of jail free’ card, but the Tykes must regroup and forget the embarassing 3-day defeat to Warwickshire when they were skittled meekly last Thursday, as they take the trip for the return fixture at Edgbaston which starts on Wednesday.
Joe Sayers takes the captaincy and Adam Lyth replaces Jacques Rudolph. Richard Pyrah misses the game with a shoulder injury.