Powerful Yorkshire take control of own destiny with ruthless win

Yorkshire's Ryan Sidebottom celebrates the wicket of Notts' David Hussey. (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWPIX.com).
Yorkshire's Ryan Sidebottom celebrates the wicket of Notts' David Hussey. (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWPIX.com).
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START the open-top bus.

Yorkshire extended their lead at the top of the County Championship with four games to go with a performance that suggested they are not for the catching.

Victory by 10 wickets over Nottinghamshire inside three days was the latest demonstration of their devastating power, which begs only the question: who is going to stop them?

When potentially tough fixtures such as this are so impressively negotiated, the question itself becomes largely hypothetical.

Although it is not quite true to say that if Yorkshire don’t win the title this year they will never win it, it is fair to contend that they will never have a better chance.

Once again, it was Yorkshire’s bowling that was just too strong, and as well as their batsmen played in raising a total of 407 after being sent into bat, it was the old firm of Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Patterson that really pressed home the win.

Patterson took a career-best 5-43 in the first innings, while Sidebottom followed his 4-35 in the first innings with figures of 3-38 against the county he left in 2010.

Having gone into day three with second innings figures of 1-11, Sidebottom’s second and third wickets were highly significant on a personal level.

The first drew him level with his father, Arnie, who claimed 596 first-class wickets.

It was a typically good ball to remove the dangerous David Hussey, Sidebottom striking with the fifth delivery of the morning to have the Australian caught behind.

Hussey, who added just two to his overnight 20, was pushing forward and the ball moved just enough to take the edge.

The wicket that took Sidebottom past his dad arrived shortly after lunch when Chris Read edged another fine delivery to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Sidebottom’s celebration was surprisingly subdued; perhaps out of respect for the old man, he punched the air in understated fashion before humbly accepting the congratulations of his colleagues.

Read’s dismissal for 58 – his first Championship fifty of a wretched summer – left Nottinghamshire 218-8, still 39 behind. Although Andre Adams swatted an unbeaten 31 from 21 balls, ensuring Yorkshire would have to bat again, the visitors made light work of a target of only 10, Adam Lyth hitting three off-side boundaries in the opening over.

Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, praised yet another clinical display from his side.

“To go to Trent Bridge and win by 10 wickets inside three days was a fantastic achievement,” he said.

“Make no mistake, it’s a strong Notts’ team, and I was absolutely delighted with the efforts of the players.

“The beauty of our season so far is that we’ve got runs on the board and the bowlers have been really disciplined.

“The runs have been shared around and everyone’s chipped in; it’s been a genuine team effort right across the board.”

Although the prize is within tantalising reach, Moxon said no one was getting complacent.

“The first words the captain said after the game were, ‘Let’s not get carried away’, and we know we’ve won nothing yet,” he added.

“A lot can happen in the last four games and we’re not going to take anything for granted.

“Hopefully, we can just keep going the way that we are and there is a real desire within the group to win this thing now.

“No one, as I say, is getting complacent, but the lads are desperate to make sure we drive home the advantage.”

Nottinghamshire’s position was desperate when they began the day on 118-4, 139 behind.

The early wicket of Hussey made it even more hopeless, and it should have got worse in the third over of the morning when Sidebottom was denied the wicket of Riki Wessels, dropped on 12 at first slip by debutant Kane Williamson.

Wessels and Read dug in to add 47 in 18 overs, the latter playing some delightful shots beneath cloudy skies.

Read effortlessly clipped Patterson to the mid-wicket boundary and then twice cover-drove Liam Plunkett to the extra-cover rope.

The breakthrough was finally made by Jack Brooks, who had Wessels well caught at second slip by Adam Lyth for 22, which left Nottinghamshire 167-6.

After Read reached his half-century from 81 balls, the home side suffered an untimely setback on the stroke of lunch when former Yorkshire pace bowler Ajmal Shahzad was seventh out at 209.

It was a poor shot by Shahzad, caught at mid-wicket by Williamson – and a comparable delivery by Adil Rashid, who dropped it well down the pitch.

Williamson spilled another catch shortly after lunch when Luke Fletcher, on two, drove Rashid to cover, but it barely mattered.

Rashid wrapped up the innings by having Fletcher and Harry Gurney caught at point as Nottinghamshire were dismissed for 266.

At 2.35pm it was all over, Lyth applying the finishing touches to a win that seemed to have the word “champions” written all over it.