JASON GILLESPIE wants his players to be more ruthless after Yorkshire were held to a draw in their opening County Championship match of the season.
The Yorkshire first team coach said they needed to be more clinical and admitted there was “plenty of room for improvement”.
Yorkshire had to be satisfied with a share of the spoils as their game against Somerset in Taunton petered out on a predictably flat pitch.
But after watching his side start solidly in their attempt to win the title, Gillespie said he wants to see more killer instinct if they are to improve on last year’s runners-up finish.
“We’ve got to be more ruthless,” stressed Gillespie. “I think with our bowling we can be a little bit more disciplined with our lines and lengths, which were good for the most part against Somerset but which we sometimes let slip, and I think with our batting, to go from 400-5 to 450 all-out in our first innings here, wasn’t good enough.
“We should have got over 500, plain and simple, and when we’re on top we have to make sure we learn how to stay on top, with batters going on to get big scores as opposed to 40s and 50s.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s was a good, solid start to the season, and the lads did some very good things, but when you’re striving to be the best you possibly can be, you’ve got to keep your foot on the throat.”
Gillespie’s contention that it was “a good, solid start to the season” neatly encapsulated Yorkshire’s display.
They did well to reach 402-5 after being sent into bat and less well to slip from there to 450 all out. They followed up with some useful bowling on the featherbed surface – much of it produced by Liam Plunkett, who took four wickets in the Somerset reply.
But there were also some soft dismissals yesterday as Yorkshire closed on 193-4, with neither side really able to claim supremacy in a match in which the only winner was the pitch.
“It was tough to get a result on a pitch like that,” admitted Gillespie. “We want to play on surfaces that provide a more even contest between bat and ball, and the reality is we’re in the entertainment industry.
“At the same time, I don’t think it’s any real fault of Somerset. There was a little bit of grass on the pitch on day one, and the sun shone throughout the game, which no one would have expected at this time of year.”
There was little prospect of a positive result when Somerset resumed yesterday on 530-9, 80 runs ahead. Although there was an outside chance they could skittle Yorkshire second time round, it was only an outside chance and one quickly exposed as fanciful.
The ease with which Somerset’s tenth-wicket pair of Craig Meschede and Craig Overton continued their stand showed how tough it would be to force a result. It signalled that yet another run-laden day was in prospect for the crowd.
Somerset had advanced to 553 when their final wicket fell, Overton lbw to Patterson to leave Meschede stranded on 59, three runs short of his career-best score. It was the fifth-highest total in Championship history not to have included a century, Johann Myburgh’s 91 the top score, and it was Somerset’s highest total for almost three years.
Trailing by 103, Yorkshire set about their work in understandably watchful manner.
Adam Lyth and Alex Lees looked to be taking a glorified net session as they dealt comfortably with the home attack.
So dominant was bat over ball, it was a moment of some note when Lewis Gregory yelled out an lbw appeal after striking Lees on the pad.
“Not out,” said umpire Martin Saggers, no doubt with the air of someone who had been suddenly startled awake.
Yorkshire lunched on 93-0, the Somerset cause not helped by the fact that Alfonso Thomas injured his thigh in the warm-up and was unable to bowl.
Batsman-error seemed the only way a wicket would fall – and so it proved. When the score had reached 100, Lees drove loosely at Meschede and was brilliantly caught by wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter, leaping to his left.
Lyth top-edged an attempted pull off the part-time bowling of James Hildreth to mid-wicket, Hildreth celebrating only his sixth first-class wicket by holding his head in his hands in embarrassment.
Andrew Gale was strangled down the leg-side on the stroke of tea, while Gary Ballance drove tamely to short cover.
Kane Williamson showed his class with an unbeaten 57, but this was not a match that will linger long in the memory.