Lancashire v Yorkshire, Old Trafford, 4th day August 15, 2008

Yorkshire end strongest in draw

John Ward at Old Trafford

Lancashire 231 and 104 for 3 (Horton 69*) drew with Yorkshire 400 for 6 dec (Gale 136, McGrath 99, Rudolph 54, du Plessis 3-69)
Scorecard

Yorkshire finished the Roses match well on top, with Lancashire having to fight hard to avoid defeat, but it is inevitable that they will have a couple of regrets and 'what if' questions. A delayed declaration, unwarranted trust in the weather forecast, and their lack of a good second spinner: all were factors that reduced their chances of victory, but in the end the loss of almost a day and a half to rain may have been too much for them anyway.

Yorkshire began the day on 234, three runs ahead of Lancashire, but crucially with eight wickets in hand. Their preferred scenario would have been to run up a total of 400 as quickly as possible, declare, and then bowl out Lancashire a second time for an outright victory. In the event, the runs took a little longer than they would have liked. Jacques Rudolph began with some aggressive strokes and raced into the twenties, but then he and Andrew Gale became rather tied down by persistent bowling.

Gayle finally lost his wicket for 136, driving a catch to wide long-on; almost immediately afterwards Adam Lyth (1) called for a risky single to backward point, only to be sent back and run out. Rudolph's 50 came off 72 balls and he eventually fell for 54, getting in a tangle over a ball from the occasional leg-spinner Faf du Plessis that reared out of the footmarks, and popping a catch to the keeper.

Tim Bresnan was promoted, presumably in the hope of quick runs, and if so was a partial success. Yorkshire at lunch had earned another batting point, on 355 for 6, but the declaration that many expected did not materialize. Rain was not considered likely, and a declaration at that point would give them a lead of only 119 runs and Lancashire two sessions during which they would surely exceed that total if they survived, so it did make sense for Yorkshire to seek full batting points - if the weather forecast proved correct. The major problem was that it took a little too long to reach that 400, which was attained almost 40 minutes after lunch, with Bresnan scoring 47 not out.

du Plessis finished with 3 for 61, while Cork's 1 for 26, surprisingly under-bowled for just 12 overs, was also presentable, but the others would not have pleased their owners. Keedy took 1 for 142 off 48.5 overs, and deserved better, troubling the batsmen at times, but just seemed to lack that little extra something that the great English spinners of the past had.

Lancashire went in again with a deficit of 169 runs, and a minimum of 51 overs to survive. Matthew Hoggard for one was fired up; in his first over Iain Sutcliffe nudged a four but was then caught at the wicket from a ball that bounced and moved away. Paul Horton did not look comfortable and earned two fortunate boundaries, but he hung on, while Stuart Law (4) departed, being easily caught at mid-on off a stroke that was half hook, half pull against Bresnan.

It was a spinner's pitch, but it was still startling to see occasional leg-spinner Rudolph coming on for the ninth over. Adil Rashid came on at the other end, a more orthodox move, and he immediately bamboozled and bowled du Plessis with a well-flighted googly - they don't get many of those in South Africa. Lancashire were now in trouble at 29 for 3.

Horton played a fine rearguard innings while keeping the score moving, reaching 50 off 83 balls, and the much-maligned Lou Vincent, though virtually strokeless (3 off 38 balls at tea) hung in there with him. Adam Lyth also bowled, but Yorkshire, who had omitted David Wainwright, now felt the loss of a genuine second spinner to partner Rashid. Darren Gough cut down his pace and run to have a try with cutters, and he rang his bowling changes, but the two refused to yield. Within living memory, bowlers such as Johnny Wardle, Bob Appleyard and Ray Illingworth would surely have completed the job, but times have changed and English counties do not produce spin bowlers like they used to.

At five o'clock, the unexpected happened - the clouds loomed and the players left the field for bad light. Fifteen minutes later, with light still poor but only a light smattering of rain, the game was officially abandoned as a draw, and Yorkshire were left to regret what might have been. Rashid finished with figures of 1 for 16 off 16 overs, but he too must surely have regretted not being part of what is virtually an extinct species in the cricket world outside Asia - a set of 'spin twins'.

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