Aussie star takes hat-trick to leave Yorkshire on the ropes

THE last time that Jonny Bairstow played a County Championship game he was part of the ultimate celebrity hat-trick.

Joe Root, Kane Williamson and then Bairstow himself? Not a bad set of scalps for Lancashire’s Jordan Clark at Old Trafford in 2018.

At Headingley on Friday, Bairstow watched a hat-trick from the non-striker’s end as Glamorgan’s Michael Neser performed the rare feat.

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Dawid Malan, George Hill and Dom Bess were the victims as Yorkshire imploded to the Australian pace man, who took a career-best 7-32.

Michael Neser holds up the match ball after taking a hat-trick and career-best figures of 7-32 against Yorkshire. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comMichael Neser holds up the match ball after taking a hat-trick and career-best figures of 7-32 against Yorkshire. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Michael Neser holds up the match ball after taking a hat-trick and career-best figures of 7-32 against Yorkshire. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Neser, 33, is not part of Australia’s Ashes squad, which is either a significant oversight on the part of the selectors or a worrying sign of Australia’s strength.

Bowling from the Kirkstall Lane end, where he sent Yorkshire tumbling from 51-2 to 59-5 on the first evening, Neser claimed the first hat-trick against Yorkshire since Clark’s performance and the first against them at Headingley since 2010, when Kent’s James Tredwell denied Yorkshire the Championship in Andrew Gale’s first season as captain.

Bairstow was the third and last wicket on that occasion too, after the off-spinner had removed Adam Lyth and Gerard Brophy, but he was powerless to do anything about Neser’s intervention.

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Malan played around one that slanted into him, Hill left a delivery that darted back sharply to take the off bail, and Bess left a booming in-swinger that crashed into off as Neser achieved Glamorgan’s second hat-trick against Yorkshire after left arm pace man Jeff Jones - father of 2005 Ashes hero, Simon – did so at Harrogate in 1962.

Michael Neser is mobbed by team-mates after dismissing Dom Bess to complete his hat-trick. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comMichael Neser is mobbed by team-mates after dismissing Dom Bess to complete his hat-trick. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Michael Neser is mobbed by team-mates after dismissing Dom Bess to complete his hat-trick. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

After helping to dismiss Yorkshire for 106 in reply to 245, with Glamorgan adding 57-2 to their lead before rain washed out the final session on a heavily truncated second day, Neser said: “It was a special moment to get that hat-trick - my first first-class hat-trick.

"The out-swinger wasn’t doing much, so I bowled one ‘inny’. It went quite big, so I decided to stick with it. Fortunately enough, it worked.

“To be honest, I wasn’t thinking too much. I was just trying to hit the stumps. It’s a great position that we’re in, and as a bowling unit we bowled really well.”

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Yorkshire had much to do when play got going on the stroke of midday, following a grey and gloomy, shower-strewn morning.

Yorkshire's Mickey Edwards celebrates dismissing Glamorgan's David Lloyd in the last action of day two. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comYorkshire's Mickey Edwards celebrates dismissing Glamorgan's David Lloyd in the last action of day two. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Yorkshire's Mickey Edwards celebrates dismissing Glamorgan's David Lloyd in the last action of day two. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The sun emerged along with the players, and England’s Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow both produced a couple of boundaries as radiant as the change in weather, Malan square-driving Neser and clipping Timm van der Gugten through mid-wicket, Bairstow also clipping van der Gugten off his pads and off-driving Neser towards the Northeast Stand.

Then, calamity...

From 90-5, with 28 added since the start of the day, Malan, Hill and Bess took their unwanted place in the record books before Neser had Jordan Thompson caught behind with another away-swinger.

Ben Coad, the last man, was run out without facing from cover in an attempt to get Bairstow back on strike, the England man left stranded on 20.

A watery scene. Only 29.3 overs were possible on day two. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comA watery scene. Only 29.3 overs were possible on day two. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
A watery scene. Only 29.3 overs were possible on day two. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
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Trailing by 139, perhaps the only consolation for Yorkshire was that they narrowly avoided the prospect of being asked to follow-on. Every cloud, as they say.

Glamorgan safely negotiated an over before lunch, and after a heavy shower caused a half-hour delay after the break, the visitors advanced to 44 before the opening partners were separated, Thompson trapping Andrew Salter leg-before.

David Lloyd drove Mickey Edwards to point with the score on 57, the last action before rain ended play.

Leading by 196 with eight wickets left, Glamorgan will be confident of extending Yorkshire’s winless Championship run to 16 matches.

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However, Adam Lyth, the Yorkshire captain, is optimistic that his side can fight their way back and pointed to how Leicestershire hit back to chase 389 to beat Yorkshire by three wickets in the opening game of the season at Headingley.

“We have to pick ourselves up, put the ball in the right area and hopefully restrict them to a total that we can potentially chase,” said Lyth.

“We have to roll our sleeves up and reverse back to what happened here against Leicester on the final day, when they chased down nearly 400.

"Conditions were a bit different then to now, but all we can do is look forwards. We can’t look backwards.”

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Yorkshire are a man down due to Ben Coad’s groin injury on the first day, the pace bowler having to leave the field after bowling the penultimate ball of his 10th over. It was a cruel blow for the hosts, with Coad having reduced Glamorgan to 1-2 after Lyth inserted.

“Unfortunately, we’ve got our best bowler out injured,” said Lyth, who paid tribute to Neser and said that he “took the wind out of our sails really”.

"I think he (Coad) did the same thing (injury) a couple of times last year, but this one’s nowhere near as bad.

"That’s a positive.

"How long he’s going to be out for, we don’t know yet.”

Yorkshire and their supporters will be hoping it is not for very long.