Rain thwarts Yorkshire at Headingley

Rain forced a draw at Headingley.
Rain forced a draw at Headingley.
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Yorkshire lived up to their promise of a positive approach to their cricket this season by setting Essex a generous target on the final day of the LV= County Championship match at Headingley but the game ended in a draw after being abandoned because of rain.

Captain Andrew Gale asked the visitors to make 262 in 74 overs and they were soon struggling as Ajmal Shahzad fired out openers Billy Godleman and Alviro Petersen with only seven scored.

But at 26 for two in 11 overs, heavy rain came to the rescue of Essex and a couple of hours later the game had to be abandoned as a draw, Yorkshire taking seven points from the match and their opponents six.

Ryan Sidebottom and Shahzad shared the new ball for Yorkshire and this time it was Shahzad who looked the more dangerous following Sidebottom’s five-wicket haul in the first innings.

Showing greater accuracy than earlier in the game but losing none of his pace, Shahzad had Petersen lbw well back in his crease to make it four for one in the fourth over.

Then, in his next over, Shahzad gained a similar verdict against Godleman, Tom Westley and Ravi Bopara taking Essex in to lunch on 17 for two.

Bopara, who hit an unbeaten century in the first innings, was the man Yorkshire wanted to remove but their hopes were dashed by the weather 10 minutes after the interval.

Yorkshire entered the final day on 144 for two, leading by 191, and Essex claimed a wicket off the first ball as Joe Sayers aimed a cut at David Masters and was caught behind for 45 off 127 balls with five fours.

Rain soon caused an eight-over stoppage but Gale and Jonny Bairstow remained positive on the resumption and Gale launched himself at Greg Smith for a big six over long-on before Bairstow pulled Westley for four.

After including three boundaries in his 24, Bairstow hit a ball from Smith to Adam Wheater at deep square leg and Gale would have departed for 31 had substitute fielder Charl Willoughby held a straight forward chance at long-off.

Gale had advanced to 48 from 52 balls with two fours and two sixes when he declared the innings on 214 for four, his boldness being rewarded with the wickets of the two Essex openers before the rain came.