Yorkshire fell two wickets short of a first Vitality County Championship win of the season during a thrilling final day against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road when both sides went after the victory.

Yorkshire set the hosts 326 to win in a minimum of 71 overs inside the final half hour of the morning and reduced their hosts to 13-1 and later 210-7 with a little under 12 overs remaining thanks to a superb career best haul from Adam Lyth, who claimed 4-56 from 14 overs with his off-spin.

Captain Shan Masood’s brilliant 131 not out underpinned Yorkshire’s 264-6 in their second innings, which they declared at 12.35pm having started on 156-5. 

Vishwa Fernando struck with the first ball of the afternoon, getting Emilio Gay caught at first slip to raise Yorkshire’s hopes. 

Despite 14 overs being taken out of the Northamptonshire chase because of a near 55-minute rain delay after lunch, the hosts went after the target until they lost wickets late on and finished on 250-8.

Both counties were desperate for their first win of the Division Two season at the seventh attempt, so it was firstly no surprise to see Yorkshire declare when they did. Secondly, it was no surprise to see the home side go after the target.

Opener Ricardo Vasconcelos hit a superb 129 off 183 balls – and, at 165-2 in the 33rd over of 57, they were in a healthy state needing 161 more. He was dashing to start with and defiant at the end. 

Shan Masood

Picture by John Heald. Shan Masood on the way to his second-innings century at Wantage Road.


But they lost three wickets for 13 in 22 balls to slip to 178-5, forcing them to shut up shop even with Vasconcelos unbeaten in the eighties. Lyth started that mini collapse with his second wicket.

At that stage, Yorkshire had 21 overs to claim the final five wickets for victory. But they just had too much to do.  

Yorkshire, who were excellent today and did as much as they could, claimed 14 points for the draw.

They held the upper hand throughout this fixture but couldn’t get over the line for victory, as had happened at Sussex in different circumstances last weekend. 

For the majority of time throughout the first half of the season, which has yielded five draws and two defeats, Yorkshire have been ahead in games but have not been able to convert it into a victory or two. 

The reasons? The weather has played its part, of course. Approximately a day’s worth of cricket has been lost throughout this fixture, for example. 

But Yorkshire just haven’t been clinical enough to drive home any advantages. Skipper Masood said that himself at the end of day two on Saturday evening. 

Adam Lyth

Picture by John Heald. Adam Lyth was excellent with the ball, returning career best figures in first-class cricket.

His comments came after seeing his side let go a position of significant strength late on the second day when Northamptonshire were 181-7 in their second innings in reply to a first-innings 362.

Unfortunately, the hosts were able to get up to 301 thanks to captain Luke Procter’s determined 116 not out. That was the innings which altered the course of the contest. 

Yorkshire had an excellent morning with the bat, led by Masood, near enough achieving the ambition assistant coach Ali Maiden had spoken abut last night, wanting 120 more runs. 

Yorkshire resumed on 156-5 with a lead of 217 and declared to give themselves a quarter-of-an-hour’s bowling time before lunch. 

Their calculations had been slightly altered by the loss of three overs due to a brief rain shower, which came at 251-6. Upon the resumption, Masood hit a six and three twos in four balls – added to a wide – and immediately declared.

The left-hander was superb having started the day on 82. He sustained a wrist injury last night and was struck on the body by a Ben Sanderson short ball three balls into today, requiring further treatment.

Shan Masood

Picture by John Heald. Shan Masood is struck on the body early in the day.

He gained valuable support from Will Luxton and Jonny Tattersall, who were both bright and breezy at the crease and added 27 apiece in sharing half-century partnerships for sixth and seventh wickets.

Masood reached his second century of the season – his fourth in all for the county – off 126 balls with three sixes. His fourth was heaved over mid-wicket off the spin of Rob Keogh almost immediately before the declaration.

When Fernando struck the early blow in the Northamptonshire chase to remove Gay, Yorkshire’s hopes were raised.

But Vasconcelos and Procter (31) shared 89 for the second wicket, taking the score to 102-1 in the 24th over. At that stage, they had played positively and opened up the outside prospect that the hosts could chase the win.

At that stage, they needed 224 more to win inside 34 overs. 

However, Procter cut Lyth to cover to leave them two down.

With Vasconcelos at the crease, Northamptonshire continued to bat positively and took the score to 129-2 needing another 197 from the final 30 overs.

Ricardo Vasconcelos

Picture by David Rogers/Getty Images. Northamptonshire centurion Ricardo Vasconcelos.

Lyth’s introduction into the attack was two-pronged – a variation from the seam but also to try and rectify an over-rate of minus three from the first innings, which they successfully did. 

However, Vasconcelos found a partner in Indian overseas batter Karun Nair, who played in the same attacking manner as the left-hander but had plenty of fortune on the way to 36.

He should have been run out, on four, coming back for two when Jonny Tattersall missed the stumps with him well short of his ground. He also survived a missed stumping chance off Lyth’s bowling on 16.

When Nair did fall, having miscued Matthew Revis to Fin Bean running towards short third, it ended a 63-run stand inside 10 overs and left the score at 165-3 in the 33rd.

At that stage, the hosts needed 161 more in 24.3 overs.

But his departure was the first of those three quick wickets. 

George Bartlett pulled Revis to mid-wicket, where sub-fielder Dom Bess took the catch, and Keogh was caught and bowled by Lyth (178-5 after 36 overs).

Wantage Road D4

Picture by YCCC. The scene at Wantage Road before the start of play today.

Lyth struck again when Lewis McManus swept him to square-leg (Revis) – 192-6 in the 40th.

Vasconcelos reached his century off 125 balls shortly afterwards, and unfortunately saw his side to the sanctuary of a sixth draw. 

That was even with Lyth trapping Justin Broad lbw not playing a shot, leaving the score at 210-7 with 11.5 overs remaining.

Jordan Thompson then trapped Sanderson lbw (219-8) with six overs, leaving Vasconcelos to take the majority of strike from the tail-end. He survived five balls of the last over before the players shook hands on the draw.

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