Yorkshire have been frustrated once again in their title tilt after drawing against Lancashire in a rain-effected Roses match.
Lancashire were on 48-3 when umpires Ian Gould and Peter Willey called the game to an end, a result which leaves both sides with a fairly mediocre three draws from their opening six matches in the LV County Championship.
The White Rose will be disappointed with the tie even though Lancashire were in control for much of it, as they now sit third in Division One behind Middlesex and Somerset, though they are on the same number of points as the Taunton outfit, with 80.0.
Potentially, it may have been an expensive draw for Yorkshire, who are running tests on Ryan Sidebottom after the seamer sustained a hamstring injury while bowling on day two. However, Tykes coach Jason Gillespie has moved to reassure fans that Sidebottom should only be out for one game, and has certainly not picked up a long-term injury.
There were lots of positive signs for Yorkshire, though once again the weather stopped them from translating some excellent performances into a result. Captain Andrew Gale fell just five short of a century before running out of partners.
That was after opener Adam Lyth had hit 50 of his own to set the home side on their way, although Lancashire will be hoping Tom Smith can keep up the form that saw him take 5 wickets from his 13 overs; for all Yorkshire’s worries about the title, Lancashire have pressing concerns of their own as they continue to languish around the relegation places, sitting above only Northants. The Old Trafford side were arguably in even more need of the win, and will have been hopeful at the close of play on day three thanks to Smith’s efforts.
Nonetheless, despite struggling for long periods against Lancashire, Yorkshire are certainly looking deserving of being in and around the top spot. Jack Brooks has been a menace with the ball all season, and tore through Lancashire’s first innings, taking five wickets, including those of Lancashire captain and temporary coach Glen Chapple (33), and opener Paul Horton, who reached 66.
Gillespie must have feared that Joe Root’s departure for England duty would have a detrimental effect on his side’s chances, but it appears Yorkshire’s formidable bowling attack can instead prove the key to their success.
Aside from Brooks, Liam Plunkett and Tim Bresnan, the two Englishmen taking two wickets apiece. Bresnan had definitely warmed up by the second innings, single-handedly picking off Horton, Luis Reece, and Karl Brown. England’s 10-wicket victory over Sri Lanka means it will be difficult for Bresnan to break back into the national side, but that is no bad thing for Yorkshire, who rarely get to make the most of the right-arm bowler.
In spite of their numerous draws, which have been in no small part down to the weather, when Yorkshire have managed to grind out a result, it has often been a resounding one. Both Warwickshire and Northants were defeated by more than an innings, while only table-toppers Middlesex have actually beaten the Tykes. If early-season form is to be indicative, Yorkshire may not quite have what it takes to lift the trophy this year, but it will certainly be a shock if they are not up there contending come the end of the season.
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