Gale guides Yorkshire to vital win
Yorkshire 255 and 299 for 6 beat Durham 213 and 340 by four wickets
Skipper Andrew Gale rushed Yorkshire to a four-wicket win against Durham this morning, scoring 34 of the 54 runs they required at the outset. Adil Rashid scored 15 of the final 24 as victory was achieved in 50 minutes at Chester-le-Street.
Resuming on 36, Gale was in no mood to hang around, even going down the pitch twice to strike the pacy Mitch Claydon for two of the 12 fours in his unbeaten 70. Gale made a streaky start, driving wide of off-stump in the opening over of the day and edging Claydon just over first slip to the unguarded third-man boundary.
His only other scare came on 54 when he tried to pull a ball from Claydon which kept low but survived the confident lbw appeal. In Steve Harmison's opening over he had four balls at Steve Patterson, none of which the nightwatchman needed to play at. But with the target down to 26, the ex-England paceman struck twice.
He had Patterson lbw without adding to his overnight three, then Gerard Brophy steered a short, innocuous ball straight to Ben Stokes at point. Liam Plunkett replaced Claydon and contributed a wide as Gale and Rashid collected the remaining runs in surprisingly frenzied fashion.
Rashid had already failed to connect with a drive when, with 17 needed, he flashed well wide of off-stump and got a thick edge just over gully. Gale then went down the pitch again to Plunkett and miscued to mid-on before turning the same bowler to fine-leg for four.
Chris Rushworth replaced Harmison with five needed and Rashid drove him through mid-on for four and one.
Yorkshire are six points behind LV= County Championship leaders Nottinghamshire, who have a game in hand. The sides meet at Trent Bridge on September 7 and Yorkshire are also relying on Lancashire to do them a favour as the Red Rose men still have to play Nottinghamshire twice.
Given that Jacques Rudolph and Adam Lyth have both passed 1,200 championship runs this season with averages above 50 and Anthony McGrath is just behind, Yorkshire are more deserving of a title challenge than champions Durham.
Their highest runscorers are Michael Di Venuto with 862 and Ben Stokes with 740 and as eight bowling bonus points have been dropped this season, compared with one in the last two years, they look destined for a mid-table finish.
But they can still have a hand in deciding their successors as they have to play Nottinghamshire at home and Somerset home and away.