Leeds, May 04 - 07, 2023, County Championship Division Two
245 & 352/4d
(T:492) 106 & 412/9

Match drawn


Yorkshire show substance as Glamorgan push them to the brink

Thrilling draw offers encouragement for one team, respite for the other

Adam Lyth ended his lean patch with a hundred, Nottinghamshire vs Yorkshire, Trent Bridge, County Championship Division One, September 23, 2021

Adam Lyth made 170 before Yorkshire collapsed  •  PA Images/Getty

Glamorgan 245 (Labuschagne 65, Edwards 3-54) and 352 for 4 dec (Labuschagne 170*, Northeast 66) drew with Yorkshire 106 (Neser 7-32) and 412 for 9 (Lyth 174, Thompson 55*, van der Gugten 4-72)
Glamorgan wore their disappointment proudly. Yorkshire's relief trailed them like a soon-to-be discarded bow tie. Even as the end of this match came, Yorkshire clinging on nine down, Glamorgan clawing at that final wicket, here were two teams at the climax of an engaging final day at Headingley still saving face.
Both remain winless in Division Two, but Glamorgan have far more to hold onto. This was their most impressive performance of the season so far, bossing Yorkshire throughout, and they perhaps only have themselves to blame for not finishing the job. The hosts will be happier overall, particularly when a batting line-up ransacked for 106 inside 31 overs a couple of days ago stood up for 96 overs, thriving for an outside shot of their 492 target, then surviving as matters got serious.
The former and, by proxy, the latter was down to stand-in captain Adam Lyth, whose magnificent 174 was head and shoulders above anything anyone from Yorkshire managed over these four days. He is due to hand over the armband to Shan Masood who arrives this week, but the form and the example set can go a long way to holding together a listless dressing room.
Two weeks after a fourth-innings knock of 69 not out that would have taken Yorkshire over the line against Sussex had the weather not intervened, he has saved the club from some further on-field introspection. Rarely has a club had to wake up every morning and check the papers to gauge its level of crisis. It will be of some consolation they can browse Monday's offerings without any mention of being the bottom-ranked side in the country. Thanks to avoiding a second defeat of the season and picking up eight points, they are 17th out of 18.
There was a moment when the worst came to mind. Lyth's departure triggered what looked a terminal collapse. But Jordan Thompson stood up with an entertaining blend of cold-blooded resistance and hot-headed shot-making, bringing up 51 in 50 deliveries thanks to 10 fours and a six, before playing out a tantilising final over from Michael Neser to drag Yorkshire to safety. Only after he blocked the final delivery did he show any emotion, turning to the home dressing room immediately to punch the air.
As valiant a final day as it was for Yorkshire, it was also worthy of lament. The capitulation after tea of 6 for 134 inside 27.2 overs was a bleak reminder of the fallibility of this group. The fight is commendable, but things should not have got this close.
Glamorgan's persistence pushed the match right to the limits, with four wickets for Timm van der Gugten and three to James Harris. But it is hard not to look back at the culmination of day three and spot an error of judgement. Had they pulled out earlier - rains came, with stumps eventually called following their declaration on 352 for 2 - they might have already been on the road back to Cardiff with something to sing about. Given the cloud cover at that point and the lack of it throughout Sunday, they could have nipped early wickets, as they did on the evening of day one when Yorkshire were 62 for 5.
Wise after the event? No doubt. Lyth could have been out of action before we arrived on the final day. Then again, he could have been dismissed on 49 when Harris just missed a caught-and-bowled chance, and definitely should have been on his way for 69 when Marnus Labuschagne dropped the simplest of chances at second slip off van der Gugten.
Was the chase of 492 ever "on"? You know what - yes. Probably. Certainly when Neser, first change after 12 overs, was driven through the covers for four and then hooked over backward square leg for six by Lyth. Neser, fresh after almost 48-hours with his feet up following 7 for 32 in the first innings, was supposed to be integral to Glamorgan's search for 10 wickets in 96 overs. And here Lyth was, dashing him around to all parts. A hat-trick and career-best figures in the first innings, followed by 23 thankless overs in the second - what a sport.
It was still "on" when Lyth moved to a 30th first-class century off delivery number 135, wasting little time in the nervous nineties or even the anxious eighties with six fours taking him from 76 to 102 in 12 legitimate deliveries.
By then, he had George Hill for company. The allrounder was engaging throughout, facilitating Lyth who brutally exposed Andrew Salter's flaws, smashing him for two fours and two sixes across two overs. The assault took their partnership into three figures and forced David Lloyd to pull his offspinner out of the attack immediately.
However, a dart at the target was now an outside bet given the loss of Jonny Bairstow. England's butcherer of fourth-innings chases last summer strode out after lunch, a break brought on by Finlay Bean's dismissal to leave Yorkshire 99 for 1. With 393 more needed, Bairstow, in at No. 3, had a clear remit. Nine balls in, an attempt to cart van der Gugten through cover resulted in a slip catch to Labuschagne. Glamorgan went wild, Yorkshire sighed.
Out walked Hill, ahead of the more established Saud Shakeel and Dawid Malan, presumably to keep the right-left thing going. A straight drive for four off his first delivery gave us all we needed to know about intentions.
He certainly didn't need the generosity of full tosses and long hops from Labuschagne bowling offies before tea. Fours off the first four deliveries of the last over of the middle session drew cheers from those bathing in the sun on the north-east corner. The second, punched through midwicket, took Hill to a sixth score of fifty or more - and second of the season.
The requirement in the final session of 38 overs was still a daunting 252 to go. Hill was livid when he fell 16 deliveries after the restart - edging a drive through to keeper Chris Cooke for van der Gugten's third - though Malan's appearance as the eighth-ranked T20I batter in the world did make you wonder what fireworks we might see on Sunday evening. At the other end, 2022's men's Hundred MVP was still playing his shots, moving past 150 for the eighth time in his career.
Just as the rate had moved above up to eight an over, Malan was trapped lbw by former Middlesex colleague Harris. Then, at 5.25pm, Lyth was given out trapped in front for Jamie McIlroy's first, with a second right after as Dom Bess pocketed a king pair. Thompson got behind his first delivery, ensuring there was no second Glammy hat trick.
Inexplicably, a Glamorgan victory was back on the table: four wickets needed in 17 overs. The second new ball was taken two overs later and given straight to van der Gugten and Neser.
Saud Shakeel and Thompson set about seeing things out in their own way, inexplicably going shot for shot in a fifty stand that took just 51 deliveries, thanks largely to Thompson's propensity to swing at anything in the slot.
After 13 were scored from Neser's third over with the new ball, Harris was brought back in at the Rugby Stand End and snicked Shakeel through to Labuschagne with his second delivery. With his sixth, Matt Fisher was lbw for another pair.
And then calm, out of nowhere. The sun came out to bathe us from the west, Thompson thumped an 11th boundary to move to first fifty of the campaign. Mickey Edwards, too, struck three boundaries of his own. Then, to the final delivery of the penultimate over, he decided to leave van der Gugten.
Off stump was knocked back and into the final over we went, Thompson on strike with an injured Ben Coad watching on helplessly at the other end. A couple shot off the seam and through to the keeper, but Thompson held firm.

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

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County Championship Division Two