Yorkshire v Somerset, Scarborough, 3rd day September 19, 2008

McGrath and Rudolph thwart Somerset

John Ward at Scarborough

Somerset 380 (Blackwell 127, Suppiah 61, Hoggard 4-42) and 25 for 0 trail Yorkshire 414 (McGrath 128, Rudolph 98) by nine runs
Championship gallery

A good even battle developed at Scarborough where fine innings from Anthony McGrath and Jacques Rudolph were countered by probing seam bowling from Alfie Thomas. The third day finished with the match as well balanced as could be, but, barring exceptional circumstances, only an unlikely batting collapse by Somerset on the final day can produce an outright result.

The morning session, played in sunshine on a good pitch, belonged to the Yorkshire batsmen, who began at 121 for 1. Charl Willoughby, despite opening with a wide, troubled McGrath in the first over, before he got him away for a four through the covers, and after that he was firmly in. His overnight partner Adam Lyth perhaps became a little too confident, as he badly miscued a ball from Alfie Thomas and skied a catch behind the bowler to depart for 65.

Rudolph came in and looked confident from the start. Another major partnership developed, and McGrath went on to an excellent century off 173 balls, although he did labour a little for the final few runs to reach three figures. Yorkshire were 287 for 2 at one stage, with McGrath on 128, when, perhaps losing concentration temporarily, he played back to and inside a full-length delivery from Alfie Thomas that removed his off stump. The pair had added 141 runs together and Yorkshire were well placed to take a big lead on first innings.

It was not to be, as wickets began to fall at regular intervals without actually bearing the qualities of a collapse. There were two catches at the wicket, Richard Pyrah (2) to a half-hearted cut to Thomas, and Tim Bresnan (6), unwisely fishing at a ball outside off stump from Zander de Bruyn. Then Rudolph, announced during the lunch interval as Yorkshire's Player of the Year, who had looked set to join Anthony McGrath as a century-maker, fatally tried to dab a ball from Andy Caddick to third man and edged a catch to third slip just before tea. He had batted well for 149 balls and hit 14 fours in his 98.

The fight for the first-innings lead turned out to be close, with only Adil Rashid of the later batsmen contributing much. Gerard Brophy (16) drove over a full-length ball from Thomas, while Darren Gough (6) was adjudged lbw to a ball that cut back from outside off stump and trapped him on the back foot. Rashid made 28, but Yorkshire were still five runs behind when he was stumped off Ian Blackwell. The last man Deon Kruis handsomely cut Blackwell for four, and then Matthew Hoggard drove Caddick to the cover boundary to take Yorkshire ahead.

Kruis celebrated by swinging Blackwell over square leg, where the ball was very well caught by a gentleman in the crowd. The pair added 39 in good style, the third-highest partnership of the innings, and took Yorkshire past 400 before Hoggard edged de Bruyn to second slip and departed for 15; Kruis was unbeaten with 24. Thomas was by far the most effective bowler, taking 5 for 84; most of his wickets came when he pitched the ball well up.

Somerset opened with Arun Suppiah and Craig Kieswetter, as Marcus Trescothick had injured his shoulder during some vigorous warm-ups this morning. They showed enterprise rather than blocking out the six overs that remained, while Yorkshire had to use their spinners for the last three overs as the light dimmed. In keeping their wickets intact while scoring 25 runs, Somerset won that mini-session.