Yorkshire drew their third LV= Insurance County Championship match in a row as the fourth day against Essex at Chelmsford petered out, even with a bit of history for Sir Alastair Cook.
Yorkshire went into the third successive Sunday with a final day victory chance, albeit a slim one on a benign pitch at the Cloud County Ground.
Leading by 22 with five first-innings wickets in hand, at 425-5, Yorkshire needed to score quickly to build a lead with which they could work through the afternoon and evening sessions. Unfortunately, it didn’t materialise.
The visitors lost their last five wickets for the addition of only 40 runs in the first 19.2 overs of play, leaving a lead of 62 with a minimum of 74 overs remaining when they started bowling approximately half an hour before lunch.
From there, England legend Cook batted Essex to safety with an unbeaten 102. After 107 on day one, he recorded two hundreds in the same match for the first time in his first-class career.
When the players shook hands early at 4.50pm, Essex were 167-0 from 59.4 overs.
Nick Browne also posted an unbeaten 50, with Yorkshire wicketkeeper Harry Duke bowling medium pace for the last four balls of the fixture.
Unbeaten Yorkshire claimed 13 points to Essex’s 11 and have now added this draw to the opening round victory over Gloucestershire and other draws at Northamptonshire and at home to Kent.
Next up are Roses rivals Lancashire, who are also unbeaten, at Headingley on Thursday.
Steve Patterson’s side can be consoled by the fact they again played some good cricket, as they have done in each Division One game this summer.
A bowling attack missing injured seamers Ben Coad, Matthew Fisher, Haris Rauf and Dom Leech plugged away for reward during the first two days and restricted Essex’s run-rate as they posted 403 all out.
Dom Bess was particularly impressive for 3-82 from 44 overs of off-spin as he and his colleagues dried up the runs. Essex’s lack of ambition perhaps owed much to the fact they hadn’t reached 200 in three previous first innings.
In reply, Harry Brook led the way with a superb 123 – his third century in four Championship matches – while Dawid Malan (87) and Joe Root (75) also contributed half-centuries.
There is an argument to suggest that, with the personnel unavailable and the pitch conditions on offer, that Yorkshire played as well as they have done so far in 2022.
Clearly, the catching is something which needs improving. Again, it proved costly.
For example, Essex’s Paul Walter, who made 141 in their first innings, was dropped on 12 and 16 on day one.
Day four started with Dawid Malan clipping the second ball – his first – to square-leg off Shane Snater to fall for an impressive 87.
Simon Harmer removed Duke and Jordan Thompson as the score fell to 459-9 in the 140th over of the innings – the 15th of the day.
Sandwiched in between, Brook fell for having added 13 to his overnight total – caught behind trying to uppercut new ball seamer Sam Cook.
The Yorkshire innings was wrapped up just after 12.20pm when Bess caught behind off Snater.
Aside from Cook’s century record in a career which now spans 329 first-class appearances, there was little to write home about in Essex’s second innings.
There were no obvious alarms for the hosts as Cook reached his fifty off 76 balls midway through the afternoon and his hundred off 178 balls shortly before the players shook hands.
He got there by pulling Joe Root for four, his 11th boundary.