Maxwell and Rashid reassert Yorkshire dominance
Yorkshire 162 (Rushworth 4-37, Onions 3-41) and 420 for 9 (Maxwell 140, Rashid 127, Rushworth 3-48) lead Durham 156 (Sidebottom 4-44, Patterson 3-16) by 426 runs
Cricketers, no less than other men, are entitled to ponder the roads not taken. Had things turned out rather differently, both Adil Rashid and Glenn Maxwell might have been at Trent Bridge this sport-sated Saturday. Then again, so might Jason Gillespie. Instead they were all at North Marine Road, where Rashid and Maxwell's Anglo-Australian alliance provided entertainment no less watchable than the brief session at Nottingham.
Indeed, in one respect some of the 4300 spectators who delightedly applauded England's Ashes victory in mid-morning on the second day of this game might justifiably regard the cricket they saw as rather better fare than that available in the Test. There was, after all, a lot that was glorious but little that was uncertain about England's victory. There was all manner of surprise and spectacle about the cricket at Scarborough. It happened like this.
At lunch many of the spectators ambled out to the middle to look at the wicket. They probably wondered how 25 wickets had fallen in less than four sessions on such a blameless piece of North Yorkshire turf. For the procession of departing batsmen had continued on the second morning of this match. Resuming on 10 without loss in their second innings, Yorkshire had stumbled to 79 for five, a lead of just 85, before Rashid joined Maxwell. The pair had taken the score to 104 but a low-scoring match was still in prospect.
At tea, many of the spectators probably strolled out to the middle again and asked themselves or their friends the same question they had posed over two hours earlier. This time they may have done so with even greater bemusement and vehemence for in the afternoon session of this game, Maxwell and Rashid had added 211 runs with some of the cleaner hitting you are likely to see. By the time Maxwell was caught a few yards inside the cover boundary by Graham Clark off Ryan Pringle for 140, the pair had added 248, which set a new record for Yorkshire's sixth wicket against Durham and is the county's fourth highest for that wicket in the first-class game.
The lead when Maxwell was out early in the last session was 333. By the close it had been extended to 426 at the cost of three more wickets, including that of Rashid who was also caught by Clark at deep cover when he had made 127. At some stage on the third morning of this game, Durham's batsmen, minus the talismanic skipper, Paul Collingwood, who is not playing because of a back injury, will begin their pursuit of a target well in excess of 400. It will be remarkable if they are not daunted.
Maxwell and Rashid changed this game by playing positively whether in defence or attack. Both batsmen remained true to their natures by seizing on every opportunity to attack the bowling and knock the Durham seamers off their lengths. On a true wicket offering pace and bounce both needed luck although neither was dropped. Maxwell reached his maiden first-class fifty of the season with a four over the slips; emboldened by this escape, he got to a century in just 39 more balls and reached his first hundred for Yorkshire with a six over long-on off Scott Borthwick. For all the talent of the Durham allrounder, it remains a little remarkable that he has played a Test for England while Rashid has not.
For this was also an afternoon when Rashid's abundant talent was warmly appreciated by most of the crowd. Having reached his fifty with a crisply-timed cover drive off Pringle, he got to his century off 125 balls with another off Jamie Harrison. The crowd stood and applauded every personal landmark, their appreciation all the greater because the vitality and skill of the partnership was so unexpected.
Rather for the same reasons, Durham's bowlers and fielders wilted. John Hastings bowled too short and incurred the displeasure of umpire Nick Cook. Suddenly heads dropped as the lead climbed above 250. Runs were easier to come by and the wicket looked what it had been for almost all of this game: a decent one to bat on once you had coped with the new ball and got used to the bounce. For Mark Stoneman and his players the morning session must have suddenly seemed rather distant.
Then they had taken five wickets and Graham Onions his 500th in the first-class game when he produced an excellent lifter to remove Andrew Gale. At that point some in the crowd were wondering whether they might have to cancel their hotel bookings; a few hours later they were animatedly discussing a game which might yet stray into a fourth morning.