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Close report: Yorkshire v Middlesex (Day three)

— 7 September 2017


More bad weather intervened at Headingley on day three to leave a Specsavers County Championship draw all but certain between Yorkshire and Middlesex.

When bad light stopped play for a second time at 4pm, Middlesex were 108-3 from 32 overs in reply to the White Rose’s first-innings 358.

No more play was possible, and a total of 142 overs have now been lost to the weather in this, the tenth match of the campaign.

It means that a Somerset win over Warwickshire at Edgbaston tomorrow could heighten the relegation worries of both these two sides, despite having done little wrong with bat and ball.

Impressive Ryan Sidebottom struck twice in successive overs as Middlesex advanced from 73-0 at lunch to 86-2 in the 7.5 overs bowled during the afternoon.

He then struck again in a shortened evening session to finish the day with 3-49 from 14 overs.

Nick Compton and Sam Robson shared 73 for the first wicket and navigated an important 17-over spell before lunch after Yorkshire were bowled out.

If Yorkshire were going to push for their fourth win of the campaign, they realistically needed to strike during this period.

But, unfortunately, there was little to encourage them aside from the odd stifled appeal.

Sidebottom then made the breakthrough when he bowled Compton for 42 with a beauty from over the wicket.

Compton played down the wrong line to a delivery which held its line in the 22nd over before Stevie Eskinazi (5) was the subject of a smart catch low down by Jack Leaning at third slip in the next over.

Play was halted for 90 minutes from just short of 2pm before Sidebottom struck again upon the resumption to get Robson caught behind by a tumbling Andrew Hodd for 47 as the score fell to 104-3 in the 32nd over.

But only two more balls were bowled before play was suspended and later abandoned for the day.

When play begins on day four, former Australia Test batsman Adam Voges will be five not out with Paul Stirling on four.

Of the 142 overs lost in the match, 56 of them went today.

Day three started in entertaining fashion.

Liam Plunkett was trapped lbw for 34 three balls into the day – his first – by Tim Murtagh as the score fell to 318-8 in the 99th over.

Murtagh then had Ben Coad caught at first slip four overs later as Middlesex claimed their third bowling point to leave the score at 336-9.

The Ireland seamer finished with figures of 4-77 from 29 overs.

Thankfully Yorkshire were able to secure their fourth batting point thanks to a couple of Sidebottom boundaries, one driven through the covers and the other whipped to wide long-on.

But the White Rose innings was wrapped up when James Harris had Tim Bresnan caught at deep point for 44.

This was only the second time this season that Yorkshire have claimed more than two batting bonus points in an innings.

Gary Ballance

He said: “It’s been frustrating, but hopefully we can get some cricket in tomorrow. We want to get as many points as we can. If we can’t get a win, hopefully we can get some good points from the game.

“I was very pleased with the batting. I thought we batted very well on a tough pitch. It was a bit slow and seamed. But everyone put a price on their wicket and got stuck in.

“It just shows what we can do.

“We all know what a quality bowler Ryan is and how well he’s done for us over the years. We knew from the word go that’s he going to leave big shoes to fill, but we’ve got so many good bowlers. I think we’ll be alright.

“You’ve always got it look up the table because it’s so tight. You win a game and you’re up to third pretty much. You’ve got to look up, and the way we’ve played in this game so far shows what we can do. Batting well and bowling nicely. We could have easily had a few more wickets.

“Hopefully we can get a few more points and take some confidence into the Surrey game.

“I’m not 100 percent sure what the table looks like, but that’s what it’s like in this league – get one win and you shoot right up there. With the way we can play, I’d back us to get at least one more win before the season finishes.

“I’ve seen some good performances over the three days here.

“We’re getting back to where we can play.

“If other teams get results, we can’t control that. We can only control how we perform, and there are good signs going into the rest of the season.”