Yorkshire coach Ottis Gibson reflected on his side’s LV= Insurance County Championship draw against Essex at Chelmsford and admitted: “It feels like we’ve spent a lot of time and got nowhere.”
Sir Alastair Cook ended this fourth round Division One fixture with two centuries in the same game for the first time in his distinguished first-class career.
Cook ended day four on 102 not out to add to his first-innings 107, with Essex ended on 167-0, a lead of 105.
Yorkshire claimed 13 points to Essex’s 11 from a game which they had an outside chance of winning at the start of day four.
The county were 22 runs ahead in their first innings with five wickets in hand, though lost those for the addition of only another 40.
When Essex started their second innings, 62 runs behind, they only had to navigate a maximum of 74 overs on a featherbed of a pitch at the Cloud County Ground. In the end, they only faced 59.4 before shaking hands.
“The game never really got going – it’s four days that I’m not going to remember much about, to be honest,” said Gibson.
“Both teams tried to play the game in the right way and keep things moving forward.
“We bowled well on the first day, and the pitch was slow and hard to score on. It didn’t really do that much.
“There was one point where (Harry) Brook and (Dawid) Malan were batting that it came alive a little bit. Today it went flat again and petered out into a draw.”
Yorkshire played some good cricket and have now drawn three games and won one in Division One.
The bowlers kept things tight, especially Dom Bess and Steve Patterson, in the first innings. Those two shared five wickets.
With the bat, Brook’s brilliant 123 stood out from a first-innings which also included 87 for Dawid Malan, 75 for Joe Root and 47 not out for Matthew Revis.
Gibson continued: “Everyone said how difficult the pitch was for batting, but Harry made a hundred off 100 balls yesterday and showed you can play shots and bat with intent, be positive and put bowlers under pressure.
“He and Malan made it look very easy yesterday.
“Harry’s the best batter in the country at the moment. If they are picking the best (England) team, then they will most likely be picking him.”
There was some encouraging news on the injury front: “There are no casualties from this game, which is a plus sign,” smiled Gibson as he looked ahead to Lancashire at Headingley on Thursday.
“Haris (Rauf) has had some time off – a lot of rest – and we expect him to be ready to go. We’ll have to look at him on Tuesday and Wednesday to see how he is. Hopefully he’s able to take his place in the team.”
The disappointment came in the form of Ben Coad.
“Ben was ready and was bowling well in the nets,” said Gibson.
“Unfortunately, on Tuesday or Wednesday, he complained of a stiff hamstring. We thought it was just stiffness. But when he came down here, it was a bit more. That set him back.
“Every time we’ve got him close, unfortunately he’s had a setback.
“He’s back in the medics room and will be a couple of weeks away.”
Root will play against Lancashire and is likely to come up against an attack, including Jimmy Anderson: “From what I’ve been told, Joe’s available for three games,” said Gibson.
Yorkshire lost Malan to the second ball of the day, with the coach admitting it affected their game plan.
“We’re trying to play positive cricket, move the game along and see how we can get the win,” he said. “This morning, we spoke of batting the whole session for 150 runs to be 170 ahead at lunch.
“The wicket didn’t break up much, but a couple of early wickets would have put them under pressure. But losing that wicket in the first over, that changed things slightly. We got a bit stuck and got bowled out.”
Overall, four games into the season, Gibson added: “I’m very proud.
“The batting has been brilliant, but we’ve bowled a lot of overs and the guys are bowling well.
“If you look at the attack we had out in this game, we were still able to bowl 96 overs on the first day for 234 runs. Dom, for example, out bowled their off-spinner (Simon Harmer) in this game, in my opinion.
“We’re still unbeaten. We’re playing good cricket and the guys are in a good place. The batters are scoring runs and the bowlers are – if not taking wickets – are bowling quite economically.
“Hopefully the Roses game will be the one where we get across the line.”