Dropped catches cost Yorkshire
Yorkshire 328 and 30 for 0 (Rudolph 21*) drew with Warwickshire 320 and 313 (Westwood 58, Troughton 48, Sayers 3-20)
If a reluctant result was to be squeezed out of the final day on a flat pitch at Scarborough, somebody had to do something spectacular before lunch. But Yorkshire managed to drop three catches, and thus put an end to another fantasy. It was a pity that such an even match should end in a dull draw, but this happens all too frequently when bowling attacks are not strong and the pitches prepared give them no assistance.
Warwickshire began the day on 111 for 2, 103 ahead, with their captain Ian Westwood on 48. He was not to add to this total: in the first over he edged a ball from Ajmal Shahzad into the slips, where Richard Pyrah at third took a fine low catch diving to his left. Ian Bell at the other end oozed class, playing the bowlers with time to spare and every now and then unleashing a graceful, effortless stroke, most notably boundaries from a cover drive and a pull, both off Shahzad. But this was one of his many innings to end without real substance, as he played back to David Wainwright and was adjudged lbw for 35 off 52 balls. In a growing trend by county batsmen this season, he chose to make his displeasure with the umpire's decision plain.
Jim Troughton was a beneficiary of Yorkshire's catching fallibility, escaping twice in the slips, and when lunch arrived the score was 197 for 4, with a draw ever more likely. The afternoon's play for the most part seemed little more than a net session for the Warwickshire batsmen, who didn't want to be too greedy: the first five, discounting the night-watchman, were all dismissed for between 30 and 60. Matthew Hoggard came on with the second new ball, and Troughton disdainfully cut his first delivery for four. But there is life in the old dog yet: Hoggard produced a superb yorker that bowled him all ends up, knocking back his leg stump for 40. Tony Frost made 48, an efficient but largely colourless innings.
The most interesting period was just before tea, when Rikki Clarke arrived and immediately played a flurry of superb strokes, the straight drives in particular being powerful and masterly. Anthony McGrath replaced Pyrah with Joe Sayers, whose gentle off-spinners, bowled off a walk-up rather than a run-up, had yet to claim a first-class victim. Had the result of the match been in doubt, this would have been a captaincy masterstroke, as he flighted the ball right up to Clarke who played over the top and was bowled. He scored 23 off 12 balls, an innings of an extravagantly talented player who has yet to come within a mile of his true potential. Sayers followed up this triumph by having Neil Carter caught at slip on the stroke of tea, when the score was 304 for 8.
Sayers almost took a third wicket immediately after the break, but was unable to hold a low hard return from Chris Woakes. Tim Ambrose continued the consistency of the top batsmen, making 33 before being trapped lbw by Wainwright, but Sayers, at a second attempt, took his third wicket by removing Sree Sreesanth caught at the wicket. His 3 for 20 gave him the best figures of the innings. Warwickshire were dismissed for 313, so the three completed team innings in this match were quite close.
Yorkshire needed a theoretical 306 to win in 24 overs, scarcely a target even for a Twenty20 match. Jacques Rudolph avoided a pair in the best possible way, driving Sreesanth handsomely to the cover boundary off the back foot. Sayers likewise hit his first ball, a full toss from Naqaash Tahir, for four in the same area, but the two overseas professionals did give the batsmen something to think about at times during their stay at the wicket as they saw out time.