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June 2, 2012
Northamptonshire 253 and 250 for 6 (Wakely 66, Starc 3-50) drew with Yorkshire 416 (Root 125)
A combination of courageous batting by Northamptonshire and bad light frustrated Yorkshire in their victory bid on the final day at Headingley. The 11 points from the draw pushed Yorkshire into second place in the Division Two table but it was still a big disappointment for the home side that they could not sweep aside their opponents and notch a third win of the season.
Northamptonshire were 250 for 6 and leading by 118 when the umpires brought the players off, despite Yorkshire having two spinners on at the time. David Murphy (31 not out) and Con de Lange (20 not out) had by then denied Yorkshire for 18 overs while adding 52 for the seventh wicket.
Northamptonshire still trailed by 120 when they resumed the final day on 43 for 1 and only four had been added in almost half an hour when Stephen Peters drove at Steve Patterson and deflected the ball on to his stumps.
Yorkshire had to wait for the light to improve before they dared to unleash their Australia international fast bowler Mitchell Starc but it was the introduction of offspinner Azeem Rafiq that ended a troublesome stand between Kyle Coetzer and Alex Wakely. Coetzer, having battled away for two hours for his 39, gave a bat-pad chance that was snapped up by Joe Root at short leg.
There was no sign of Northants throwing in the towel, however, and Rob White helped Wakely to take the visitors in to lunch on 120 for 3. The struggle continued in the afternoon but Wakely suddenly relieved pressure on the batting side by off-driving Rafiq cleanly for six.
Yorkshire needed a breakthrough and it came when their lead had been whittled down to just three runs, White bowled for 42 playing over a ball from the patient Patterson. In the same over, captain Andrew Hall put his side in the black by finding the square-leg boundary. Wakely completed his half-century with a Chinese cut for four off Starc but soon afterwards the same bowler got some lift to a delivery that left Hall and he was caught behind by Jonny Bairstow.
Starc gave Yorkshire renewed hope by striking again, this time bowling the obstinate Wakely with a quick one which breached his defences. The new batsman de Lange appeared to survive a sharp return catch to Rafiq as Northants went in to tea on 205 for 6 and leading by 42 with a minimum of 37 overs remaining.
Soon after the interval, Yorkshire had two chances off consecutive balls but both went begging. First, de Lange swung Rafiq wide of mid-on and Starc was unable to get into position for the catch, the ball just brushing his fingers. The batsmen ran two and then De Lange played off bat and pad and Gary Ballance could not quite hold on as he dived on to the pitch from silly point.
Yorkshire took the new ball as soon as it became available but two fours off Ryan Sidebottom to the vacant third man by Murphy lifted the Northants' lead to 70 and the draw became inevitable once the light deteriorated even further.
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