Hampshire v Yorkshire – Matthew Fisher happy to show his full value to White Rose
So much so, it would be easier to name the parts of the body that Fisher has not damaged during a career so cruelly beset with misfortune.
Get him on the park, however, and his value to Yorkshire speaks for itself.
Fisher it was who took the key wicket of Hampshire captain James Vince, which sent the hosts from 86-3 to 163 all-out in reply to the visitors’ 243, the key moment on another hard-fought day which Yorkshire closed on 34-1 in their second innings, a lead of 114.
Bowling from the Hotel End, Fisher banged one in short outside off stump and Vince pulled it from around chest height to deep-backward square-leg, where George Hill judged the catch. Vince top-scored with 49 from 90 balls and hit nine fours, many of them beautifully struck, as they invariably are.
“I felt I wasn’t getting much seam movement but bowling pretty tight and Vince was defending me well,” said Fisher, who took 2-28 from 10 overs. ”I thought if I slipped in a bouncer I might get him out because he’s quite compulsive and takes it on. Luckily, it paid off.
“It’s just nice to be out there because the injuries I’ve had have obviously been frustrating. One of the big positives I take is that I’ve had so many that I hope it shows strength of character to keep coming back, because you could easily stop doing the right things, eating the right things, and so on.
“I was happy and pleased with my pace and hopefully I’ll pull up well in the morning and we can press home our advantage.”
Although Fisher, 23, produced the most important breakthrough, ending a fine third-wicket stand of 70 between Vince and Tom Alsop, Yorkshire’s most successful bowlers were Ben Coad (3-29 from 12.3 overs) and Jordan Thompson (3-35 from 12).
Thompson came back well after a first spell of 3-0-19-0, which contained three fours in an over by Vince, who clipped him through mid-wicket, turned him through square-leg and then cut him to third man.
Thompson has a tendency to be expensive on occasions but he is one of those players who makes things happen, his spirit and tenacity unquestionable. Replacing Fisher at the Hotel End, his body language bristling with purpose, Thompson had Liam Dawson lbw on the stroke of tea, Keith Barker edging to first slip shortly after the break and then Mason Crane fending to second slip.
Earlier, Fisher had Joe Weatherley caught by wicketkeeper Harry Duke, which left Hampshire 1-2 after Coad pinned fellow opener Ian Holland. Coad also had Nick Gubbins edging to third slip before Fisher’s wicket of Vince was followed by Dom Bess’s removal of Alsop, bowled by a beauty that turned sharply past the left-hander’s outside edge to hit the top of off stump, ending a painstaking innings of 12 in two hours, 21 minutes that emphasised the ongoing challenge of batting beneath mainly overcast skies.
Bess grabbed a second wicket in strange circumstances when Lewis McManus drove into his own foot, the ball rebounding to Duke, who caught it in his right hand and broke the stumps in one flowing moment, with everyone flummoxed for a while as to what exactly happened.
Kyle Abbott and Brad Wheal irritated Yorkshire with a 10th-wicket stand of 40 before Wheal followed one from Coad and was caught behind.
Day two had started with Bess at the crease, with 45 to his name and Yorkshire’s first innings at 197-6. Thompson fell to the second delivery, bowled by Wheal as he tried to leave, Bess going on to 54 before Barker bowled him through the gate, Yorkshire all-out half-an-hour before lunch when Crane had Fisher and Coad leg-before.
Yorkshire lost Adam Lyth to a good one from Wheal second time round, caught behind, but Hill and Tom Kohler-Cadmore saw the side through to stumps, handily placed to push for a win that would significantly boost their title hopes.