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Graham Hardcastle at Headingley
May 27, 2014
Lancashire 325 and 48 for 3 (Bresnan 3-9) lead Yorkshire 243 (Gale 95*, Smith 5-49) by 130 runs
Roses cricket is generally entertaining for one reason or another and the third day at Headingley was no different, both on and off the field. Andrew Flintoff stepped up his bid for a return to professional cricket with Lancashire by bowling and fielding in the warm-ups before his mates dominated a day which also saw Yorkshire's captain, Andrew Gale, called back to the crease after he was incorrectly given out by Peter Willey.
Gale, on 25 in the second over after lunch, was given out after a ball from Glen Chapple brushed his trouser leg and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Alex Davies. Yorkshire would have been 132 for 4.
It prompted a furious reaction from a man who is no stranger to Roses controversy - in 2011, the last summer these two old foes met, Gale was engaged in a heated verbal battle with James Anderson. Here, Gale remonstrated with Willey until he had gone a few paces beyond the stumps at the non-striker's end.
Although he was proved correct as Willey, following a brief conversation with Ian Gould at square-leg, called him back, he could still find himself the subject of a three-point penalty from the ECB.
"I apologised," said Gale, who went on to make 95 not out in Yorkshire's below-par 243 in reply to 325. "I should have walked off really, that's what you're supposed to do in cricket. Pete admitted it was a terrible decision, and he got it wrong, so as I was walking off I told him I had a mark on my trousers. I had a big red mark on my trousers where it hit me, so he called me back.
"I was a bit shocked, to be honest, but fair play to him because it takes a brave man to admit he's wrong like that."
Lancashire deserve credit for not complaining about the reversal, and they were rewarded with seven other wickets during a frantic afternoon session which saw Gale's side slip from 136 for 3. Tom Smith was their standout performer with 5 for 49, his second five-for of an exceptional summer with ball and bat, although Kabir Ali was just as good and deserved more success than his two-for.
"The umpire realised he'd make a mistake and decided to call him back," Chapple said. "I've no problem with an umpire changing his mind, none at all. I know he didn't hit it, and that's why my appeal was stifled. Pete said 'I've made a mistake', and that's fair enough."
Lancashire extended their lead to 130 before the close, which came 17 overs early due to bad light, although they weren't convincing as Tim Bresnan struck three times.
Quite when Flintoff will return to Twenty20 action is unclear after a five-year absence, although he must be reasonably close on the evidence of his near hour-long spell of bowling and fielding before play. Playing for St Annes on Thursday is a possibility.
"He looked quite good today," Chapple said. "He came over for some training and did all the fielding. As usual, he got involved with lads, and they always like having a chat to him. It was good. His bowling looked pretty good compared to me. I think he'd be disappointed if he didn't. But, yes, it's good to see him on a cricket field.
"He's seen where he can get to, but it's been the same story for a few weeks now. Hopefully one day, Fred will play cricket again. That would be a good story for Lancashire, definitely."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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