Compton spoils Yorkshire party at Headingley

Somerset's Nick Compton dispatches this delivery from Yorkshire's Adil Rashid
Somerset's Nick Compton dispatches this delivery from Yorkshire's Adil Rashid
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THIS match has the air of a season winding down, both sides going through the motions in the nicest sense before the impending parting of the ways.

The keenest stimulus naturally went from Yorkshire’s point of view when they won the County Championship at Trent Bridge 13 days ago.

It was their first title since 2001, a high they have understandably not yet come down from.

Rousing themselves for a dead game like this was always going to be difficult, a game that is mostly helping to pass time before they parade the Championship trophy in front of their own supporters following its conclusion.

That conclusion cannot come soon enough, if truth be told, for a team that have given everything for the cause throughout the season.

For all that Yorkshire are trying to win this game, to end their wonderful summer on a high, the emotions they experienced in Nottingham must have taken something out of them, otherwise they would be robots rather than human beings.

One has only to look at the scoreboard to see evidence of the fact it is difficult to maintain the same level of intensity, the same electric spark once the ultimate goal has been achieved.

At stumps on day two, Somerset were 319-3 in reply to Yorkshire’s 253, a seismic shift in the natural order of events that betokens a subconscious decline in Yorkshire’s performance, if not a conscious one.

Yorkshire, in fact, are in danger of suffering that rarity of rarities – a defeat.

They have lost only three times in 47 Championship games since Jason Gillespie became first-team coach, a remarkable record that says everything about the quality of the players and coaching staff.

Prior to this match, there had been some talk in the Yorkshire camp of how there were still personal milestones to play for here, individual objectives that could drive the players over the four days.

Alex Lees, for instance, is closing in on 1,000 Championship runs for the season, while Jack Brooks started the game needing four wickets to beat Steve Kirby’s total of 67 for the most by a Yorkshire bowler since the switch to two divisions in 2000.

It was admirable motivation, understandable strategy, but the whole point about this Yorkshire team is that they are a team.

That ethos underpins everything they do.

If personal glory is not working towards a tangible collective triumph, then it cannot, in itself, be considered glory – merely statistical detail.

Quite whether Nick Compton would perceive his innings of 156 yesterday in quite that fashion is open to question.

The 31-year-old Somerset right-hander still harbours hopes of resuming a Test career cut short here last year when he was dropped after two failures in the second Test against New Zealand.

Compton has been steady rather than spectacular this summer; this was only his second century of a campaign that has brought 943 Championship runs at 44.90.

But he took advantage of the Yorkshire bowling to show signs of his class in the late September sunshine, making his highest score of the season in a relaxed and free-flowing style.

In fairness, the Yorkshire bowling was not at its best.

Brooks had one of those infrequent days when everything does not quite click, Adil Rashid bowled 23 wicketless overs for 90 runs, while Rich Pyrah conceded just over four runs an over.

There was too much loose-ish stuff for Yorkshire to be entirely pleased with their performance, although Steve Patterson bowled very well for figures of 2-38 from 19 overs.

Only four wickets fell all day on a pitch that did not seem to 
offer quite as much as on the first day.

The first of those was the final wicket of the Yorkshire first innings, which came when Brooks was caught at second slip by Marcus Trescothick off Peter Trego after adding five to his overnight 16.

Brooks’s 10th-wicket stand with Jack Leaning had been worth 40 in 14 overs, Leaning adding seven to his overnight score to finish unbeaten on 57 from 128 balls with eight fours.

After an indifferent start, Yorkshire claimed the first Somerset wicket with the score on 42, Patterson having Johann Myburgh caught by Lyth at second slip.

It should have been 42-2 but Joe Root dropped Trescothick on 28 in the next over off Pyrah, low to his left at third slip.

Trescothick had proceeded to 66, and the total to 150, by the time he late-cut Root’s third delivery to Lyth at slip, ending a stand of 108 in 31 overs with Compton. Compton went just before stumps, bowled by Patterson after adding 154 with Tom Abell in 44 overs.

Abell, a 20-year-old Taunton lad, ended unbeaten on 71, his third half-century in only his fourth first-class match.

Scoreboard: Page 22.