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Ivo Tennant at Taunton
May 31, 2013
Yorkshire 450 for 5 dec (Lyth 105, Rashid 103*) and 104 for 4 (Lyth 57*) drew with Somerset 310 (Hildreth 115, Trescothick 74)
Once Somerset had avoided the follow on with their penultimate pair at the crease, a draw was the only realistic result. Yorkshire, who eventually had a first-innings lead of 140, had not the time nor the inclination to attempt to enhance that swiftly once three wickets had gone for 21 runs. Adam Lyth, who never tires of batting in Taunton, remained at the crease at tea and, indeed, thereafter.
At least, from Somerset's perspective, another batsman has found some form. On Thursday it was Marcus Trescothick. Now James Hildreth reached his first century of the season, indeed his only meaningful Championship score, before he was yorked by Moin Ashraf when just three runs were required to save the follow on. Like his captain, he is not as yet back to his very best, but his punched drive square of the wicket, a shot he plays as well as virtually anybody, was in good order.
Hildreth, who was on 76 overnight, reached his century with, depending on your point of view, 12 or 14 fours. Two were all run and so do not feature as boundaries in the scorers' official books and computers. Or, on this occasion, one scorer, as Gerry Stickley, of Somerset, was making his international debut at Lord's.
Craig Meschede partnered Hildreth competently enough until he drove too early at a slower ball from Steven Patterson and was caught at short mid-off. They had added exactly 100. At that stage, 29 runs were still required, but the pitch, effectively a third day one after the rain of Tuesday, was akin to one of Phil Frost's surfaces of old: all even bounce and of little help for seamers and spinners alike.
George Dockrell ensured Yorkshire would have to bat again by pulling Adil Rashid for four before he played on when failing to counter bounce from Ashraf. Yorkshire, then, had two options: to bat out the afternoon or to have a quick thrash in the hope of bowling out Somerset in, say, 30 overs. Not as unlikely as it would seem given Somerset's dreadful batting this season.
What happened instead was that Joe Sayers was caught at second slip by Marcus Trescothick for a single off Steve Kirby, as he had been in the first innings; Phil Jaques padded up to the second ball he faced; and Andrew Gale was leg before half forward to Peter Trego's medium pace. That was 21 for 3 but Lyth, who continued his fine run of form on this ground by reaching a half century off 106 balls with six fours, hardly played and missed.
"It was a boring draw in the end," Trescothick admitted, "and my own batting is a work in progress. But James Hildreth has been batting well in one-day games and he shepherded the lower order well. The last four wickets put up a good fight to save the follow on."
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