Ben Coad backs up words with actions to prove all-round worth to Yorkshire CCC

AS he pondered a less than promising position at stumps on day two, with Yorkshire still 145 runs behind Sussex’s first innings score with just three wickets left, Ben Coad, the Yorkshire pace bowler, confidently stated that “we bat deep”.

It is one thing to ‘talk the talk’ and quite another to ‘walk the walk’, and in sunny conditions in Hove on Saturday, Yorkshire’s No 11 backed up words with actions, producing an innings that changed the game.

When Coad arrived at the crease, Yorkshire were 239-9 and the Sussex lead was still over three figures. By the time he had been bowled by spinner Jack Carson, trying to run a ball behind square on the offside, Coad had hit 45 from 32 deliveries - the second-highest score of the innings - with five sixes and two fours, sharing 59 for the last wicket with Mickey Edwards to trim the deficit to just 63.

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It was a fine innings from Coad, one which kept that deficit to manageable levels. Nor was it, as the statistics might suggest, a classic case of tail-end slogging. Rather, it was controlled, attacking batting, the sort of which any top-order player would have been proud.

Ben Coad in action with the ball against Sussex at Hove. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.Ben Coad in action with the ball against Sussex at Hove. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.
Ben Coad in action with the ball against Sussex at Hove. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

Only Fin Bean (49) achieved a higher score as Yorkshire were dismissed for 298 in reply to 361, Edwards playing his part with an unbeaten 19 on debut.

Coad has always been able to hold a bat. A first-class average of 16 may be nothing to write home about, but nor is it the worst for someone batting No 11.

Last September, Coad achieved his maiden half-century - 69 against Essex at Headingley. That time, he had Steve Patterson and Jack Shutt below him in the order, revelling in a more elevated position.

The sixes were all excellent shots.

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First, Carson was launched over mid-wicket with a lovely, smooth swing of the bat. Coad then cleared his front leg to hit pace bowler Henry Crocombe away in the same direction.

Coad walked down the pitch and casually pinged Carson over long-off, holding the pose for good measure, before dancing down and lofting him over long-on. Coad’s final six, also off Carson, also sailed over long-on.

Coad’s contribution was not over.

The 29-year-old triggered a second innings collapse from 41-0 to 66-5 by deflecting a straight drive from Tom Haines on to the stumps in his follow-through, Ali Orr run-out at the non-striker’s end. Four balls later, Coad pinned Tom Alsop for a golden duck, ending with 1-30 to follow his 5-54 in the first innings.

As Sussex collapsed again from 105-5 to 137 all-out, leaving Yorkshire 201 for victory, the most successful bowler was spinner Dom Bess with 3-36. There were two wickets each for Jordan Thompson and Matty Fisher as Yorkshire bowled better collectively than they had in the first innings.

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Adam Lyth and Shai Hope hit unbeaten half-centuries after Yorkshire fell to 39-3.

Hope survived a controversial moment when he left a ball from Crocombe which wicketkeeper Oli Carter threw back at the stumps and hit them with the batsman having left his ground to do some gardening, believing that the ball was dead.