Bancroft unable to sandpaper over the cracks as Yorkshire CCC take control

ON a day when Yorkshire were held up by Cameron Bancroft on a lifeless pitch, it was a little too easy - although by no means inaccurate - to say that the visitors could have done with some sandpaper to rough up the ball.

References to Cape Town in 2018 - when Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner were involved in the infamous ball-tampering scandal - sprang to mind as Yorkshire struggled to prise the Australian from the crease with the old Kookaburra.

By the time they had done so, Bancroft had scored 70 in four-and-a-half hours and Gloucestershire were 157-5.

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They went on to make 263 in reply to Yorkshire’s first innings 326, relinquishing too many wickets from a competitive platform before the visitors reached 57-0 at stumps on day two, a lead of 120.

Cameron Bancroft, the Australian batsman. Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.Cameron Bancroft, the Australian batsman. Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
Cameron Bancroft, the Australian batsman. Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.

Bancroft, 31, will forever be associated with the incident in which he put sandpaper down his trousers, a bit like Trevor Chappell will always be remembered for the underarm episode of 1981 and Mohammad Amir for his involvement in the spot-fixing controversy of 2010.

Given a nine-month ban for his part in the plot, Bancroft has made only two Test appearances since, both during the 2019 Ashes.

He has done well to come back from such an experience – his own fault or otherwise - and is at Nevil Road for the summer, having played briefly for Gloucestershire in 2016 and for the entire season in 2017.

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This was an innings of customary patience, the right-hander facing 196 balls and striking just three of them to the boundary - a cover drive off Matt Milnes, followed by a sweep and a straight drive off Dan Moriarty.

It was Moriarty, the spinner, who got rid of him finally, Bancroft experiencing a rush of blood out of keeping with the rest of his performance as he skied to Joe Root at deep mid-off.

Bancroft banged his bat into the turf in frustration and walked off rehearsing the shot that he should have played, one with a more prominent leading arm that would have carried the ball in its intended course over mid-on.

Bancroft’s wicket was a second for Moriarty, who had Miles Hammond stumped from a delivery thrown up wide outside the off stump, ending a painstaking third-wicket stand of 98 with Bancroft in 247 balls, which left the hosts 126-4.

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They had started the day - another of watery sunshine and pleasant temperatures - on 28-2, losing nightwatchman Josh Shaw without addition when Milnes had him taken low down at third slip by Harry Brook.

On an afternoon when Hugh Pym, the BBC News health editor, could be seen walking around the ground, taking in the action, Yorkshire captured the sixth wicket on the stroke of tea, James Bracey late-cutting Adam Lyth to slip, where Root snaffled the chance at the second attempt.

The second new ball did for Graeme van Buuren, the Gloucestershire skipper, although in truth he did for himself as he tried to whack Ben Coad over the leg-side and edged behind.

Coad claimed his second wicket in three balls when Zaman Akhter was caught behind in more conventional manner, the ball feathering the edge, and Matty Fisher had Marchant de Lange clubbing to mid-off. The innings ended when Fisher trapped Ajeet Singh Dale leg-before, leaving Ben Charlesworth unbeaten on 52 from 71 balls with four fours and two sixes.

Lyth struck the first three balls of the second innings to the boundary off Shaw, his former Yorkshire team-mate, with only a five-over delay for bad light interrupting progress.

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