Yorkshire secure Division One berth for 2010
Yorkshire 169 for 1 (Rudolph 68, Sayers 74*) trail Hampshire 351 (Lumb 81, Adams 51, Shahzad 4-75) by 182 runs
Yorkshire have earned the right, almost at the last minute, to remain in the first division of the championship in 2010, and that was their main objective of this match. Four wickets by Ajmal Shahzad helped to remove Hampshire soon after lunch, and then an excellent opening partnership of 162 between Jacques Rudolph and Joe Sayers gave Yorkshire a good platform for a possible victory.
The second day began with the match evenly balanced, with Hampshire on 227 for 4, Michael Lumb 72 not out. Lumb never settled down again and his overnight partner Nic Pothas made most of the 16 runs scored in five overs before the second new ball was taken. Matthew Hoggard, who took it, had two confident lbw shouts against Lumb in his first over, and soon afterwards the batsman jabbed at a ball from Shahzad that moved away from him and was caught at second slip for 81.
Shahzad, who at the lunch interval received the award for Yorkshire's Young Cricketer of the Year, was the best of Yorkshire's bowlers, working up a good pace and having the batsmen frequently groping at the ball. Dimitri Mascarenhas was most uncomfortable, eventually falling for 8 when he flashed at a ball from Hoggard and Anthony McGrath brought off his third fine catch of the innings at second slip.
Hampshire suffered another blow when Pothas, who had begun his innings fluently, became bogged down and eventually edged Dion Kruis to the keeper. Kruis initially lost his direction, but then settled down to bowl a good testing spell. Dominic Cork applied himself thoroughly to building an innings, and at lunch Hampshire had reached 321 for 7.
Cork and James Tomlinson accumulated runs steadily for a while until Shahzad removed the latter with a fast yorker, and the last two batsmen were soon snuffed out. The last three wickets fell for six runs, the team finishing with 351, which is just about par for the course in county cricket these days. Cork, who did not try to shield his last two partners, was unbeaten with 42.
Yorkshire began their innings amid various assumptions, the chief of them being that if they reached 300 they would be secure in the top division for another season, no matter what Sussex did in their match with Nottinghamshire. Rudolph began as if he planned to get them all before tea, lashing the first ball of the innings backward of point to the boundary, and driving the third through the covers for four. At the other end Joe Sayers assumed the mantle of Geoffrey Boycott and took 25 balls to get off the mark.
The Hampshire bowlers settled, though, and for a while both batsmen became seriously bogged down by their accuracy, backed by tight fielding, Mascarenhas turning in an opening spell of 6-3-4-0, mostly to Sayers. But the batsmen did not lose their nerve or patience, and worked through their difficult period until just before tea, when Rudolph broke free again with 12 in an over off Tomlinson.
The score at the interval was 49, and the imminent landmark was reached immediately afterwards, as Sayers cut the first ball, from Tomlinson, to the boundary. Runs then began to flow, helped by a disastrous spell from Sean Ervine, who went for 35 runs in four overs, liberally sprayed with a wide and four no-balls. Sayers hit both his first two deliveries to the boundary and almost caught Rudolph, although taking most of the bowling. Rudolph reached his 50 off 99 balls, and three deliveries later Sayers joined him, off 123.
Just before five o'clock, the news came through that Sussex had been dismissed for 243, and Yorkshire's bacon had been saved for another season; this was the third year out of four that they had earned a last-minute reprieve from Death Row. The opening stand went on to record 162 runs, at which point Rudolph fell for 68 (Sayers then 69) when he mistimed a drive to mid-on off Danny Briggs. David Wainwright saw out the day, leaving Yorkshire in provisionally the better position overnight.