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Chester-le-Street, April 22 - 25, 2009, County Championship Division One
362 & 303/5d
(T:394) 272 & 193/7

Match drawn


Harmison and Durham edge the battle

This tense, well-fought match continues to intrigue, with Durham pulling slightly ahead on the second day.

Yorkshire 264 for 6 (Brophy 75, Rudolph 51) trail Durham 362 (Blackwell 95, Mustard 94*, Hoggard 4-82) by 98 runs
This tense, well-fought match continues to intrigue, with Durham pulling slightly ahead on the second day. Amid a number of renowned players, though, the name of Gerard Brophy was perhaps most prominent on this occasion, as he followed up an impressive wicketkeeping display with a fighting innings that saved Yorkshire from real trouble after Steve Harmison won his duel with Michael Vaughan.
Durham, starting the day on 303 for 7, decided like the county champions they are to seize the initiative from the start. Phil Mustard and Callum Thorp were the men at the crease and against some loose bowling from Tim Bresnan and Deon Kruis began to prosper. But just as the home team looked to be on their way to a formidable score Matthew Hoggard achieved the critical breakthrough. First he had Thorp playing back and giving him a return catch for 42, then Graham Onions (4) edged a ball to give Brophy his sixth catch behind the stumps.
Mustard, though, was approaching his century , including several successful reverse sweeps, but ran out of partners on 94 as the last man, Harmison, fell lbw to Adil Rashid for 3 and the innings closed for 362. Hoggard finished with 4 for 82, but the most impressive bowler over the course of the innings was Bresnan, whose three wickets cost 63.
As Yorkshire began their innings, most interest centred on the batting of Vaughan and the bowling of Harmison. The latter was into action first and was for the most part quick, with an occasional wild delivery and every now and again a superb ball. It could be called a four-star bowling performance, but it may be that a five is required to win him back his Test place. Jacques Rudolph played himself in well, in overcast conditions less amenable for batting than on the first day, and then played some fine strokes. The opening partnership realized 40, of which Andrew Gale made 11 before he played over a ball from Onions that kept a little low.
This brought in Vaughan, ten minutes before lunch. He got off the mark by nudging a ball from Onions through the slips for four, and followed it with a characteristically magnificent drive to the cover boundary. More classic strokes followed after lunch from a man who looked in form as he played a superb straight drive for four off Harmison, later followed by a pull for four. But controversy was to rear its ugly head. Harmison produced a brute of a ball which reared past Vaughan's chin as he tried to play it, and umpire Nick Cook hesitated before raising his finger for a catch at the wicket. Vaughan, on 24, was clearly unimpressed by the decision, and the general feeling was that he had been unlucky.
That may prove to be a major turning-point of the match, as Yorkshire had been going well at that stage on 83 for 1. It galvanized Harmison, who raised his game to perhaps a four-and-a-half, finding greater speed and some more vicious deliveries. Soon afterwards Rudolph, after reaching 51, tried to glance him down the leg side only to give Mustard a catch. However, Harmison tired while Liam Plunkett and Thorp were unable to maintain the same degree of pressure. Brophy, coming in at five as Joe Sayers had injured himself in the field, rose to the occasion and enjoyed some bursts of fine strokeplay. He hit Plunkett for four and six off successive deliveries, and later drove Benkenstein through the covers - his favourite stroke - for three fours in four balls.
Anthony McGrath mistimed a leg-side chip and was caught at midwicket for a useful 24 just before tea, while shortly after the break another fine cover drive brought Brophy his 50. Bresnan enjoyed several slices of luck and secured quite a number of runs with edges behind the wicket, but he is always a fighter and proved a valuable partner for Brophy in a partnership of 105. But Brophy became bogged down in the seventies and in the end threw away his chance of a century, as he took a risk against Ian Blackwell and was stumped for 75. In the following over Bresnan, on 40, drove at a ball from Plunkett outside the off stump and edged it on to his stumps without a change to the score.
This left Sayers and Rashid to rebuild the innings and they stuck it out with determination to the close, with Yorkshire still 98. The home side hold a reasonable advantage, but much will depend on how well they bat in their second innings.

Yorkshire Innings
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County Championship Division One