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Jon Culley at North Marine Road
August 16, 2014
Yorkshire 258 for 5 (Williamson 90*, Bairstow 77) trail Sussex 368 (Joyce 130, Cachopa 53, Wright 52, Rashid 3-32) by 110 runs
Kane Williamson, in his last home match before he leaves Yorkshire to play in the Twenty20 Champions League for Northern Knights, needs 10 more runs to complete an overdue maiden first-class century for the county after an incident that may prove to be of huge significance if Yorkshire can somehow fashion a win in this match.
Sussex, who had dismissed both Yorkshire openers cheaply after stretching their own first innings total to a challenging 368 on a bad morning for Andrew Gale's title-chasing side, were convinced the New Zealander was out for 16 when he edged a ball from Lewis Hatchett to second slip.
James Tredwell claimed the catch, but as he and the Sussex fielders celebrated, Williamson was less convinced, looking at standing umpire Graham Lloyd and then gesturing towards the slips with an outstretched arm.
The Sussex fielders remained adamant the ball had carried and Williamson appeared after a few moments to accept their word, starting to walk. By this point, however, umpires Lloyd and Peter Hartley were ambling towards each other to confer and Williamson stopped, at skipper Gale's behest. The officials failed to reach a verdict, however, and dismissed the Sussex case as unproven, inviting Williamson to continue.
Sussex were frustrated, understandably. Yorkshire would have been 55 for 3. Eight balls later they were 57 for3 but it was Gale who edged Magoffin to wicketkeeper Ben Brown, which only added to Sussex's chagrin.
Mark Robinson, the Sussex coach, said that Tredwell had insisted the catch was clean and complimented Williamson for eventually accepting the fielder's word, taking his reprieve as "one of the frustrations in cricket you occasionally have to put up with."
The Yorkshire camp took a different view. Alex Lees, the opening batsman, sided with the batsman. "It was clearly a little bit dodgy," he said. "Kane is the most honest of blokes and you could tell from his reaction that something was not right, because it was completely out of character."
If it was a moment of good fortune, it was one Yorkshire needed. The first hour or so at North Marine Road did not go well as they conceded a further 53 runs before taking the last two Sussex wickets, with Steve Magoffin hitting 39, and then lost both their openers for five runs.
Adam Lyth dragged on a wide ball from Lewis Hatchett from well outside off stump and Lees squirted a catch to Ed Joyce at fourth slip, attempting to play Magoffin to leg. Even after Williamson's reprieve, the loss of Gale meant they had much work ahead of them to stay in contention.
As it was, with the Sussex seam bowlers lacking much in experience beyond Magoffin, struggling to control the ball consistently in blustery conditions, they were able to build a satisfactory recovery as Williamson was joined by Jonny Bairstow.
Continuing in the form that brought him a century and two fifties for England Lions in the Royal London tri-series, he outscored Williamson, hitting 77 from 89 balls to the Kiwi's 75 from 133 at tea and he was unlucky to be out without addition to the second ball of the evening session, given out leg before to a ball that appeared to be both a touch high and possibly missing leg stump. The partnership for the fourth wicket had put on 149.
At 3,400 on a cooler day than Friday, the crowd was well down on the first day and it was a disappointment for those who remained that Williamson, who lost another partner when Jack Leaning chopped a ball from Tredwell into his stumps for 33, was denied the chance to complete his hundred because of bad light.
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Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough