Surrey v Yorkshire, Pro Arch Trophy, Abu Dhabi March 18, 2009

Vaughan shows form with century

Mark Pennell in Abu Dhabi

Yorkshire 295 for 8 (Vaughan 115, Sayers 55, Tudor 3-55) beat Surrey 262 for 9 (Pyrah 4-29) by 33 runs


Michael Vaughan made an early statement with a century against Surrey in the Pro Arch Trophy © Sport Arabia
 

Michael Vaughan's Ashes intentions became patently clear in the surreal surroundings of the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi where the former England captain opened his 2009 campaign with a sumptuous century - his first hundred for the county since 2004.

Playing against Surrey in front of a modest crowd in Tuesday's Pro Arch Trophy in the UAE, Vaughan appeared to be at his best in scoring 115 from 113 balls with 12 fours and a six in a Yorkshire 50-over total of 295 for 8.

The total proved too stiff a task for Surrey who, batting second under lights, fell 33short at 262 for 9 despite half-centuries from Michael Brown, Usman Afzaal and Stewart Walters.

Batting first on a sublime pitch at an oasis of a stadium set in the midst of the desert five miles from Abu Dhabi city centre, Vaughan survived one early appeal for leg before before going on to feature in stands of 128 alongside Joe Sayers (55) and then 66 in tandem with Anthony McGrath (29).

Sayers holed out to the deep before a mix-up led to McGrath's demise, run out by a direct hit from Matthew Spriegel at cover, yet Vaughan continued majestically in temperatures approaching the mid-80s. He scored the majority of his boundaries through the covers while one well-timed clip against Spriegel's off-spinners sailed over the ropes at deep- quare for the only six of his three-hour stay

Going into the game Vaughan said he felt ready to resume the fight for his England place. "I have had my break now I feel very refreshed and relaxed," he said. "I don't have any pressure at all. I have had five-and-a-half months out of the game, so I am just very much looking forward to playing some cricket wherever that may be.

"To be captain of England for five-and-a-half years was tough. I wish that I had taken a break straightaway after I had resigned. It would mean a great deal to play in the Ashes, but it would also mean a great deal to be involved in a successful Yorkshire team."

Watching from the pavilion, Surrey's batting coach and former England team-mate, Graham Thorpe, said Vaughan looked in fine order. "It's the first time I've seen him bat for a while and he looked exceptional," he said. "It's the first run-out for everybody but apparently he's been stroking the ball well in the nets and I know he'll be delighted he's got a hundred under his belt.

"His balance looked good, he timed the ball sweetly as you'd expect. You need to get runs in pre-season and take form into the beginning of the English season and he's done that."

Thorpe, the last 34-year-old England batsman to win a recall by the selectors, added: "The England No. 3 slot isn't completely slammed down and Michael's made no qualms in saying what his intentions are for this summer and that's a pretty good start for him."

Surrey's reply started at a gallop as Newman (40) and Brown, with 51 from 61 balls, posted 95 in 17 overs before Newman had his leg stump clipped by Steve Patterson.

Brown went lbw soon after his half-century, playing across the line to Richard Pyrah, who proved the hardest Yorkshire bowler to get away as he finished with 4 for 29 off his 10 overs. But Surrey re-grouped through Stewart Walters and Afzaal with a century third-wicket stand, to which Afzaal contributed a 60-ball 50, only to fall to a skied catch to midwicket two balls later.

Three runs on, dangerman James Benning was bowled by Pyrah, who then removed Chris Schofield to a catch in the deep and bowled top-scorer Stewart Walters (57), after grazing the his leg stump. Tim Bresnan then chipped in with the late wickets of Gary Wilson and Chris Jordan.

Mark Pennell is a freelance journalist who will be covering the Pro Arch Trophy for Cricinfo

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