Andrew Gale: Slow pitch only brings frustration following tame draw at Arundel

Jonny Bairstow excelled at Arundel

Jonny Bairstow excelled at Arundel

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I HAVE got to say we were a little bit disappointed with the track at Arundel for our County Championship game with Sussex – it was a featherbed of a pitch really.

You don’t mind if it is a flat wicket as long as there is a little bit of pace in it, but it was so slow.

Even when we got the nicks, the ball wasn’t even dropping halfway to the slips and at one stage, we had to get Adam Lyth with a helmet on at second slip to get him as close as possible to try and get the edges. Anything that the pitch did; whether it seamed or spun, just did it so slow that the batsmen could adapt.

We didn’t lose any time in the game and if you can’t get a result in four days, then that represents a poor pitch really. If we’d played five or six days on the pitch, I don’t think we’d have even got a result.

It wasn’t even good for batting. If you look at the scores and how long it took the batting sides to get them, it wasn’t good cricket that way. If you set defensive fields, it was still very hard to score. The outfield was quite slow as well and if you tried to force the issue with the bat, you just had to accumulate runs and if you did try to force the issue, players found themselves getting out, so they just went into defensive mode and two an over was probably a good score on that wicket.

Slow pitches can be a problem at outgrounds. Players do look forward to playing at outgrounds because there is a festival atmosphere and always a good crowd in and there was a good crowd there.

But you always worry about the pitch. We are very lucky that at Yorkshire, our outground at Scarborough generally produces results. Arundel was definitely one of the slowest I have played on.

On a pitch like that, you have to try and be adventurous with your fields and get into the batsmen’s heads and change things up and that’s what we did. We had the ‘great Yorkshire wall’ as we call it with six men in the wall at one stage, but it only got one victim in the first innings when it usually works.

We tried everything we possibly could and could not get the wickets that we wanted in the second innings.

On the plus side, Jonny Bairstow and Jack Leaning were really in the runs and I was pleased for them both.

Over the past year, Jonny hasn’t had the best time of it and has wanted to find some form and I really thought that in the Twenty20 game last Friday that really gave him a lot of confidence.

He played a brilliant knock against Sussex and one you wouldn’t really associate with him. It was a long drawn-out knock that tested his patience at times. He played really well; but not only that, he kept really well on a tough pitch.

I think he got six catches in the first innings in what was a tough pitch to keep wicket on and Jonny has worked really hard on his keeping lately and he is getting his rewards.

We now go onto face Warwickshire. You never know what you are going to get at Edgbaston because we have played on some really good pitches there – but also some spinning and seaming ones. It will be interesting to see what sort of pitch they have got, but as long as there is some life in it for a result, then that is all we are bothered about.

Obviously, we are part-way through the England versus Sri Lanka Test match at Headingley and I have been watching to see how our lads have been going on and let’s hope the Yorkshire lads can come through like they did in the last Test at Lord’s and help England to a series-winning performance. It’s good to see the weather set fair because over the last few years, we have been unlucky at Yorkshire on that score when hosting internationals.

It would be nice, like at Lord’s, if it went to tea-time on the fifth day, but England getting over the line this time.

I watched the highlights from Monday and it looked a good game of cricket – it was just a pity England couldn’t grasp that last wicket.

I can’t leave without mentioning the football. We all watched the England game on the coach on the way back from Arundel and we felt England deserved to get something out of the game. The difference between the sides was a world-class striker in Luis Suarez.

It was gutting to see him get that goal at the end; unfortunately, it’s the same old story.

Don’t mention Spain to me either. When you get the world champions from the previous World Cup in a sweepstake, you think you are going to finish in the top three and at least get your money back.

But for them to be first out of the competition just about summed up my luck in all these sweepstakes we have.

I am sure there will be plenty of my team-mates with smiles on their faces.

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