Yorkshire cruise to win over Lancashire to close in on leaders Essex


Yorkshire’s Roses victory came with the minimum of fuss. On day three they clinically swept away Lancashire’s last six wickets for 68, then knocked off the required 60 for a 10-wicket win. “From start to finish we dominated” was the succinct and entirely accurate assessment of Andrew Gale, their coach. Whisper it, but this performance, which takes within two points of the leaders, Essex, was reminiscent of those seen when they won twin titles under Gale’s captaincy.

On a pitch full of juice – “one of the best I’ve seen at Headingley,” Gale said, before lamenting that it would probably be rated “average” under the England and Wales Board’s grading system – they had bowled relentlessly throughout, did not shell a chance (a welcome change from recent games) and in Adam Lyth’s battling century, achieved the game’s only score of more than 50. “If I could show the academy a video of how to bat at Headingley, that would be it,” Gale said of Lyth.

The bowling on the third morning was almost as excellent as it had been on the first, when they dismissed for 123. “As good as you’ll see in county cricket,” Gale added with a grin.

Ryan Sidebottom, now 39 and who every Yorkshireman should be begging not to retire, had Dane Vilas caught at slip, then Ben Coad had Shiv Chanderpaul edging behind, all before Lancashire had a lead. Coad had dismissed their prize scalps, Haseeb Hameed and Chanderpaul, twice each and ended with eight wickets in the match.

Ryan McLaren and Jordan Clark ensured Yorkshire would bat again, putting on 48, before Tim Bresnan made his first major contribution. He took three wickets in 16 balls and Sidebottom got rid of Tom Bailey, all caught by the wicketkeeper or cordon (like 22 of the match’s 30 wickets), to ensure the target remained so low that sweat would not be broken.

Indeed it was not. With 21 runs required for victory off they went for lunch, perhaps because there was a do being thrown for former Yorkshire players – having not given them an inch all match they generously invited a few Lancastrians, too.

What remained was a formality as Lyth and Alex Lees milked Lancashire’s spinners – who were bowling to avoid the loss of points because of their poor over-rate – with any semblance of intensity gone; even Hameed served up three overs. Eventually, Lees grew bored and carted Steven Croft wide of mid-on to put Lancashire out of their misery.

They had been playing catch-up since choosing to toss, then bat. On a pitch that would have suited him down to the ground, Glen Chapple, the coach, was adamant that it was the performance, not the captain’s call, that cost them. “The quality of our bowling did not match theirs. We have to take that on the chin,” he said.

Chapple said the return from injury of Jimmy Anderson, who was bowling at about 50% before play, is coming on very well and added that he is “a fast healer”, though not fast enough to face Middlesex at Southport on Friday, alas.

County Championship round-up

Jonathan Trott was in Birmingham on Saturday, sorting out a family issue. When he returned to the Ageas Bowl on Sunday, he was confronted with another problem: Warwickshire had tumbled to 49 for six in response to Hampshire’s 515.

There remain few better at burrowing out of a crisis and, from No8, he made his 43rd first-class century but could not avert the follow-on. Thirteen balls into Warwickshire’s second innings, which they began 261 behind, he was back in. With the openers, Ian Westwood and Andrew Umeed, falling cheaply, he and his skipper, Ian Bell, put on an unbroken 66. They closed still 186 runs behind but Trott, with 17 from 58 balls, had shown his team the way.

First time round Trott shared 32 with the nightwatchman, Grant Thornton, and 104 with Keith Barker, who made 63. Finally there was the 54 across 20 overs with the last man Sunny Singh, which delayed tea and brought a second batting point. Trott eventually fell lbw to one that stayed low from Kyle Abbott, first ball after tea, but he was not gone for long.

The only team below Warwickshire, Somerset, toiled manfully against Middlesex at Lord’s but the hosts avoided the follow-on late on, ending 298 for seven with Adam Voges also having retired hurt for 86. Somerset lead by 132, and require something remarkable to earn their first win.

At Hove, Worcestershire put on 215 for the first wicket, with Daryl Mitchell making his third hundred in as many matches, only to be bowled out for 312, and forced to follow-on by Sussex. Jofra Archer took four wickets and Vernon Philander three, including his 500th in first-class cricket. Mitchell, again, held Worcestershire together, making his sixth half-century in six innings, but they closed 143 behind with six wickets in hand, having lost 14 for 221.

Nottinghamshire head into the final day against Derbyshire 179 ahead with four wickets in hand, seeking to extend their advantage at the top of Division Two. Samit Patel’s first half-century of the season carried them to 313 for six.

Cameron Steel made his maiden first-class century, brought up with a six as winless Durham made 376 against Northamptonshire, for whom Mohammad Azharullah took five for 72. That left Northants requiring 205 to win and Paul Coughlin immediately dismissed Max Holden as they closed 44 for one. If the weather allows, a thrilling final day awaits.