|Scorecard:||Yorkshire v Worcestershire|
DateLine: 15th July 2011
YORKSHIRE v WORCESTERSHIRE Day 2, by John Ward at Scarborough
Close of play: Worcestershire 168 and 82/4; Yorkshire 367.
A magnificent stand of 109 for the last Yorkshire wicket between Ajmal Shahzad and Ryan Sidebottom proved to be the major factor in taking their team well ahead in their match against Worcestershire. This was followed by some more excellent seam bowling, leaving the visitors at the end of the day trailing by 117 runs still, and with four top batsmen already gone. Yorkshire look certain victors unless they manage to throw it away, as has happened before this season, or unless the weather intervenes strongly.
On a dry but cloudy morning with some sunshine, Yorkshire, 135 for five overnight, struggled early on against the sharp Worcestershire attack of Alan Richardson and Jack Shantry, although the bowlers were unable to cause the havoc that Yorkshire’s seamers had created on the previous morning. Off the fifth ball of the day Moeen Ali at third slip missed a sharp low chance from the bat of Andrew Gale, but the Yorkshire captain did not last long. Within twenty minutes he had gone for 72, trying to turn a ball from Richardson to leg and being adjudged lbw. At 143 for six, Yorkshire were now even in danger of falling behind on the first innings.
The next half-hour or so was not encouraging for the home side, although they did not lose a wicket. The overnight batsman Gary Ballance and his new partner Tim Bresnan struggled for survival and the scoring rate almost ground to a halt. But they hung in there and gradually, Bresnan first, began to find their feet and take on the bowling. After 47 minutes came the first boundary of the day, as Bresnan hit a handsome cover drive off Richardson that also brought up the 150. Runs now began to come steadily, and by lunch the score had reached 235 for six, both batsmen in the forties; the session had brought exactly 100 runs for the loss of one wickets, and Yorkshire were definitely in the ascendancy.
The lunch interval proved an excellent change bowler and the balance of the match swung again. Bresnan, 41, played the third ball after the break, from Gareth Andrew, on to his stumps, and the partnership of 92 was ended. Ballance completed his fifty and was almost immediately beaten and trapped lbw b Richardson. Then Adil Rashid (14) became the fifth lbw victim of the innings, a rather strange dismissal as he played no stroke and merely stuck his pad at a ball from Shantry; perhaps he totally lost sight of the ball.
Yorkshire had lost three wickets for 23 runs and at 258 for nine visions of a really major lead had all but evaporated. However, Yorkshire were not finished yet, as the sting is so often in the tail. Shahzad and Sidebottom are no mere tail-enders, and Shahzad applied the long handle while his long-haired left-handed colleague used the straight bat with an occasional impressive strokes. The hundred-run lead was soon passed, and the 300 was exceeded. Still they took their toll of the despairing Worcestershire bowlers, with Shahzad’s favourite strokes being the smash rather than the cut through point and the powerful leg-side slog, four of which went for six (one losing the ball) before he was finally caught on the boundary attempting a fifth. His 70 came off 72 balls, with seven fours as well as the sixes, while Sidebottom finished unbeaten on 28. The partnership for the tenth wicket added 109 runs in 24 overs, taking the Yorkshire total to 367 and their lead to 199. Richardson was the best of the bowlers with three for 66.
Worcestershire were soon set back in their second innings by the early loss of Matthew Pardoe (2), caught in the slips off Sidebottom. Vikram Solanki looked in good form, but he met his match in Shahzad, back to fine bowling form, and was dismissed lbw for a brisk 30 off 44 balls. Further disaster followed as Moeen Ali, keen to get off the mark, risked a quick single to Anthony McGrath in the covers and was narrowly run out by a direct hit. Three were down now for 57, and Shahzad was running in with great hostility and giving the batsmen a torrid time.
Alexei Kervezee (10) was next to go; having survived the Shahzad onslaught, he perhaps relaxed and aimed a loose drive at a ball from Rich Pyrah that moved away and took the edge to the keeper. The opener Daryl Mitchell, despite taking a painful blow on the right thumb from Shahzad, battled through to finish on 38 not out, of a total of 82 for four, but his team faces a mountainous task on the third day. It would not do for Yorkshire to take victory for granted, however, after their championship record so far this season.