|Scorecard:||Yorkshire v Worcestershire|
DateLine: 15th July 2011
YORKSHIRE v WORCESTERSHIRE Day 3, by John Ward at Scarborough
Close of play: Worcestershire 168 and 332; Yorkshire 367 and 80/3.
Yorkshire will have to wait until the fourth day to win – if they can – a match that they should have wrapped up in less than two and a half. A very poor exhibition in the field, especially in the matter of missed catches in the slips, proved very costly, and may yet turn out to be fatal; the last three Worcestershire wickets were allowed to add 161 runs.
Worcestershire have kept themselves in with a chance by sheer determination, although clearly the less talented of the teams, and their hero of the day was the 36-year-old Alan Richardson, who followed up a highly unorthodox and opportunistic innings with some superb bowling and a magnificent run-out. Yorkshire’s last seven wickets need to make 54 more runs on the final day to undue the self-inflicted damage.
The day began with Worcestershire 82 for four in their second innings, still 117 runs behind Yorkshire. The morning was cloudy and windy, with rain possible later in the day, and both the weather and the match situation probably contributed to a smaller (though still substantial) crowd. The overnight pair, Daryl Mitchell and James Cameron, made a slow but creditable start against good bowling by the Yorkshire seamers. It took them 45 minutes to drag the score up to 100, laborious going but necessary in the circumstances. Then, after exactly an hour’s play, Cameron flashed at a ball from Ajmal Shahzad and Adil Rashid took a sharp flying catch at third slip in front of his face; Cameron made 18.
Gareth Andrew came in and quickly raced to double figures, but then rather dried up. Mitchell finally reached a dogged fifty off 133 balls, but Rashid went from hero to villain when he dropped a chance offered by Andrew, who was then on 15. This was to prove another expensive miss. But when he had made 55, Mitchell’s long vigil came to an end, as Rich Pyrah broke through his defence with a skidding ball that bowled him through the gate. Worcestershire were now 142 for six. Pyrah continued to bowl well, inducing two or three miscues from the batsmen, but without further success, the score reaching 168 at lunch.
Four balls after the interval, Yorkshire struck again, as Shahzad produced a superb yorker to bowl Ben Scott comprehensively for 9. Andrew now began to open out, now partnered by Saeed Ajmal, against some rather loose bowling, and Worcestershire soon managed to wipe off their deficit. Andrews then reached his fifty, off 67 balls, but then threw it all away at 57 with a wild leap down the pitch and slog at a ball from Pyrah that only resulted in an edge to the keeper. Worcestershire were now 216 for eight.
Another chance went down a few minutes later, Ajmal on 19 giving an unaccepted chance to Gary Ballance at second slip, that fielder’s third miss of the match out of five chances. It was another expensive miss for Yorkshire, as Ajmal went on to make 47 and stretch Worcestershire’s lead to 70 before he edged a ball from Pyrah to the keeper. Yorkshire’s fielding continued to let them down; twice on the final day they gave away fives, thanks to four overthrows each time, and Ballance’s fourth dropped catch at second slip to reprieve Shantry. Jonny Bairstow did not have a good day behind the stumps, although he did not miss any chances.
Thanks to that reprieve, the Worcestershire last-wicket pair of Shantry and Richardson put the Yorkshire bowling to the sword with an array of mainly agricultural slogs and mishits that evaded the field, the batsmen often standing well clear of leg stump as they carved at bowling that was sometimes far from intelligent. The cricket now verged on the farcical, and the pair added 62 runs before Sidebottom finally managed to produce a yorker that scattered the stumps of Shantry, who was standing so far to leg he could scarcely reach it. Shantry’s 47 was the best of his career, while Richardson benefited to the tune of 31 not out. Pyrah had four wickets and Shahzad three. Yorkshire had managed to get themselves a target of 134 when they should not have needed to bat again.
Yorkshire did not inspire confidence at the start of their chase. Runs came slowly as Richardson bowled particularly well and the batsman made little attempt to dominate. Adam Lyth was the first to go, run out for 10 as he attempted a second run to midwicket, the fielder being – who else but Richardson? Joe Root survived a sharp chance to slip when on 4, off Saeed Ajmal in his first over, and he and Anthony McGrath played very dourly. McGrath had 6 runs off 27 balls when he offered no stroke to a ball from Richardson that trapped him lbw. Andrew Gale was soon pushing the score along a little faster, but with 17 to his credit he yorked himself trying to attack Ajmal and was smartly stumped. Yorkshire were now 58 for three in the 24th over.
As the light began to deteriorate, Bairstow, after 13 balls without scoring, slashed rather desperately at a ball from Ajmal and survived a difficult chance high the slip, the ball going for four. He was still there at the close, along with Root (31), who was determined to make the most of his early escape and batted with sense and maturity. Yorkshire have on the face of it a straight-forward task on the final day, but after their record this season even this target cannot entirely be taken for granted. The fat lady is not ready to sing just yet.