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Graham Hardcastle at Headingley
May 26, 2014
Yorkshire 29 for 0 trail Lancashire 325 (Horton 66, Smith 54, Brooks 5-90, Plunkett 4-74) by 296 runs
After only 28 overs were possible on Sunday, from which Lancashire reached 87 for 2, their assistant coach Gary Yates described the state of the game as honours even. After an enthralling second day, things don't seem to have changed much, despite a second five-wicket haul of the summer for the effervescent Jack Brooks.
You could argue a case for either side being the happier at the halfway stage of this match. Lancashire's 325 all out represented their highest score of the season so far and three batting points doubled their season's tally in their sixth match. For Yorkshire, even though they had won the toss, they had to fight back from the visitors being 127 for 2 and had to do it without one of their most influential bowlers, Ryan Sidebottom, who was off the field for the final two sessions and a bit with a sore left hamstring.
If you believe the weather forecasters - and there are plenty of people who don't - then we will not see another ball bowled in this match.
Brooks has been excellent so far this season, his second at Headingley. He has 26 wickets and only Steven Finn with 29 has taken more in Division One. Brooks has accounted for 20 wickets on this ground, including eight against his former county Northamptonshire last month.
Liam Plunkett has gained more plaudits for his hostility on the way to 19 scalps as part of Yorkshire's much-admired seam attack, but Brooks's pitch-it-up style has led the way with vigour. He deserves plenty of credit and possibly more recognition.
Three of his wickets were bowled, including innings top-scorer Paul Horton without offering a shot for 66 before lunch, while another was caught at second slip. His fifth wicket was a gift - Kabir Ali caught at point. Plunkett added a season's best 4 for 74 to Brooks's 5 for 90.
Horton and Tom Smith, with 54 from No. 7, both batted with great caution, although Glen Chapple and Kyle Hogg were more pugnacious in a successful bid to recover the score from 183 for 6 just after lunch. Smith and Chapple shared 68 for the seventh wicket to take the score beyond 250 before Hogg's 50-ball unbeaten 47 secured an unprecedented third batting point.
Yorkshire encountered few alarms in their reply before rained prevented the last 8.5 overs of the day being bowled.
Not only did Yorkshire come out of the day with an injury scare, Lancashire did too. Their experienced batsman Ashwell Prince, in his final season of first-class cricket, battled a back injury during his 56-ball stay at the crease before lunch.
Yorkshire's coach, Jason Gillespie, said they would take a cautious approach to Sidebottom's muscle problem. "Siddy's just felt something at the bottom of his hamstring, so it will be an ongoing assessment of that," he said. "We will make a decision on whether we need to get him scanned and we'll probably know more tomorrow and make a plan from there.
"At this stage it looks like a little tweak and we don't think it's serious. But we've got to look after him. With Siddy being such an important member of our squad, the leader of our attack, we want to make sure he's 100 percent."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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