Assured Jaques leads Yorkshire fightback to frustrate Durham

MAN OF THE MOMENT: Yorkshire's Phil Jaques takes the applause after finishing day three at Scarborough on 151 not out. Picture: SWPIX.COM
MAN OF THE MOMENT: Yorkshire's Phil Jaques takes the applause after finishing day three at Scarborough on 151 not out. Picture: SWPIX.COM
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A CROWD of 4,000 at North Marine Road today would give Yorkshire their biggest aggregate attendance for a match at Scarborough since 2001.

You might remember the game in question: Yorkshire beat Glamorgan by an innings and 112 runs to win the County Championship for the first time since 1968.

It is no coincidence that the 16,000 who have so far watched this game, including 4,750 on yesterday’s penultimate day, have been similarly seduced by Yorkshire success.

The home side went into this match 25.5 points ahead of Durham at the top of the table, dreaming of their first title since those memorable scenes 12 years ago when David Byas and his players celebrated their triumph on the pavilion balcony.

There will be no Championship celebrations today; Yorkshire still have three games to play, Durham four, with the season set to go down to the wire.

But events today could go a long way towards determining whether Andrew Gale and his men are to follow in the footsteps of Byas and co by winning the Championship in Yorkshire’s 150th anniversary year.

By the time the Scarborough faithful trooped away last night, their faces a little bronzer than when they arrived on another gloriously sunny day, Yorkshire’s position had improved unrecognisably from when they were asked to follow-on 299 runs behind after lunch.

For that they had to thank Phil Jaques (151) and Kane Williamson (90), an Australasian alliance that took them to 276-1 at stumps, 23 runs adrift, and which repelled a Durham team who had earlier had them on the rack.

Having started the day on 182-3 in reply to Durham’s first innings 573, Yorkshire collapsed in a fashion they have not done since early season, losing their last seven wickets for 63 runs in 23 overs.

Only Jonny Bairstow stood above the parapet, lifting his overnight 42 to 82 before he was seventh out when he got a leading edge back to the leg-spinner Scott Borthwick.

It was a fine innings by Bairstow, who faced 129 balls and hit 14 fours, among them a thumping off-drive off the pace bowler Chris Rushworth that had the faithful purring with pleasure.

Having been left out of the fifth and final Ashes Test, Bairstow has responded positively with successive Championship half-centuries.

Bairstow added 104 for the fourth-wicket in 33 overs with Kane Williamson, who added eight to his overnight 76 before he was the first wicket of the day, lbw to Ben Stokes’s first delivery from the Peasholm Park end.

Calamity followed next ball when the new batsman, Gary Ballance, was run-out following a mix-up with Bairstow.

Ballance played Stokes into the mid-wicket region and when the batsmen came back for two, Ballance was run-out by Rushworth’s throw to the wicketkeeper.

A third wicket went down in quick succession when Adil Rashid was caught behind off Jamie Harrison and when Bairstow fell nine overs later, the end of the innings was nigh.

Mark Wood removed Liam Plunkett’s leg bail, followed up by bowling Steve Patterson first ball and almost had a third wicket moments later when Jack Brooks was dropped at second slip by Borthwick.

Lunch was slightly delayed with nine wickets having fallen and Stokes wrapped up the innings by having Ryan Sidebottom caught behind.

When Yorkshire began their second innings there were still a potential 161 overs left in the game and the home crowd sensed a difficult afternoon. Durham were convinced they had Adam Lyth caught down the leg-side early in his innings but umpire Martin Bodenham decided otherwise.

Lyth fell in the sixth over, though, playing all around a delivery from Rushworth that had him palpably lbw.

Jaques, on 28, survived a strong shout from Stokes, umpire Bodenham - who later presided over a seven-ball over and a four-ball over - turning that appeal down too.

Batting was made to look considerably easier than it was earlier in the day as Jaques and Williamson withstood everything the visitors could throw at them.

Durham were hampered by the loss of Wood in the second innings, who was unable to bowl after picking up a side strain, but they perhaps tired as a unit as the day wore on, with Borthwick unable to make the most of useful conditions.

Without Graham Onions, who is recovering from a broken finger, the visitors lacked that X-factor player who might have triggered a second innings collapse.

As it was, Jaques and Williamson batted with increasing assurance to significantly ease fears of a defeat that would see Durham close the gap at the top to just 5.5 points.

Jaques was the principal aggressor, reaching fifty from 72 balls and requiring only a further 60 to raise his century, his second in three games.

Punishing on anything short or wide, Jaques battled tenaciously and received solid support from Williamson, whose second significant contribution of the match was both classy and timely.

Williamson reached his fifty from 112 deliveries and ended the day close to joining Jaques on three figures.

Their stand - currently worth 257 in 59.2 overs - could prove crucial come the end of the season.