Bresnan's best fans Yorkshire's title ambitions

Yorkshire 282 (Hodd 96*, Rafiq 74, Mullaney 3-54, Hutton 3-67) and 263 for 4 dec (Ballance 101*) beat Nottinghamshire 94 (Bresnan 3-15, Sidebottom 3-21, Brooks 3-41) and 146 (Bresnan 5-36, Brooks 4-35) by 305 runs


No one is mithering about Yorkshire enforcing the follow-on now. The remnants of those discussions were stilled 40 minutes into this final day of the 130th Scarborough Festival when Chris Read, so often the epitome of Nottinghamshire's resistance, edged his third ball to Jake Lehmann at fourth slip and plodded off North Marine Road with his team six wickets down and needing to bat out another 86 overs for the draw.

Recoveries from such positions prompt the writing of slim pamphlets and the composition of raucous songs. For all that Brendan Taylor and Brett Hutton survived for eighty minutes until lunch there was rarely any indication that Read's cricketers now have it in them to mount such wondrous revivals. The expressions on the faces of the players outside the away changing room after their eventual 305-run defeat said as much.

There was angry impotence verging on the emotional emptiness of the truly beaten. Having reduced Yorkshire to 51 for 6 on the first day, Nottinghamshire's bowlers had facilitated the home side's recovery and their batsmen had then lost 20 wickets in 94.4 overs. The last four of these had tumbled in 19 balls after lunch, three of them to Jack Brooks. The first, though, had been taken by Ryan Sidebottom, who had Hutton caught by Andy Hodd for 20. Next over Taylor slapped Brooks to Alex Lees at cover and the slow loop of the ball was almost mournful. It was time to pack the picnic away.

Ten minutes later there were high fives and high jinks in the home dressing room. Yorkshire will return to Headingley for Sunday's Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final buoyed by the fizz of victory. They will not be weary as Nottinghamshire's players may be when they go to Chester-le-Street next week. Instead they will travel down to Southampton for their next four-day game a mere five points behind Middlesex and with the prospect of taking on the current leaders in the last match of the season looking ever more delicious.

They will feel vindicated, too. Bloody vindicated, probably. "Are you going to ask me about the follow-on?" said their coach, Jason Gillespie, at the opening of his post-match press conference. "People had a pop at us but it was the right call. We stick by what we believe is the best opportunity to win a game of cricket."

And so they should, of course. As will those who believe that Yorkshire had a good opportunity to complete a two-day win at Scarborough. Had they taken that opportunity, there may have been no need for officials to arrange for Headingley's Blotter to be transported to North Marine Road early on Friday morning and put to work mopping up the drenched outfield. "I think it did bugger all," said Gillespie.

Yet it still seemed faintly miraculous that cricket could be played on the final morning of this game. On Thursday evening thick mist had coiled itself around the town like a cat, hugging each streetlight and soaking every surface. Then, from around ten o'clock until deep into the early hours, rain fell in pitiless rods on deserted streets, as if passing judgement on something.

By 11 o'clock in the morning, though, the air was sea-scented and the ground was fit for play. So fit, perhaps, that according to most timekeepers we began three minutes early and Tom Moores suffered the curious indignity of being caught by Adam Lyth off Tim Bresnan a minute before play was due to begin. Bresnan then had Samit Patel caught behind for five, although the batsman cast a couple of glances back at the umpires before dudgeoning off to the pavilion.

Bresnan finished the innings with 5 for 36 in the innings and 8 for 51 in the match. Both are career-best performances and they come from a cricketer who is so often at the heart of his team's most rambunctious triumphs. Bresnan, at least, will be up for the next challenge whereas Nottinghamshire's players will most probably face some bleak truths in September. Relegation brings financial consequences and it changes lives. Cricket's poets need to remember that.

Notts 4th innings Partnerships

1st3SJ MullaneyJD Libby
2nd31JD LibbyTJ Moores
3rd0MJ LumbTJ Moores
4th27BRM TaylorTJ Moores
5th16SR PatelBRM Taylor
6th6CMW ReadBRM Taylor
7th47BRM TaylorBA Hutton
8th0BRM TaylorL Wood
9th0LJ FletcherL Wood
10th16Imran TahirL Wood