Yorkshire downfall result of familiar failings

SAME OLD, same old.

Jack Brooks complemented his impressive bowling display by scoring 21 from 16 balls in Yorkshires second innings but Somerset still emerged comfortable winners (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com).

The season has only just begun but Yorkshire’s problem remains the same – a lack of runs from their batsmen.

Bowled out for 96 in their first innings, the visitors were dismissed for 202 in their second to lose by 118 runs.

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In their previous match, against Nottinghamshire at Headingley, the problem, to some extent, was largely camouflaged.

Brilliant bowling from pace man Ben Coad inspired a thumping win after Yorkshire, in both innings, were 37-3.

But whereas half-centuries from Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan and Andrew Hodd in that match ultimately helped Yorkshire to totals of 256 and 334, only Jack Leaning (68) reached that mark here; otherwise, Yorkshire’s highest individual score was 34.

In contrast Somerset were powered by a century before lunch on the opening day from Yorkshire-born Matt Renshaw, followed by 82 from captain Tom Abell in their second innings, with Renshaw’s innings proving the difference.

It all added up to familiar frustration for Yorkshire first-team coach Andrew Gale, whose side never threatened a target of 321.

“It does feel a little bit like that (same old story), said Gale.

“Our first innings score of 96 all-out just wasn’t good enough, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

“I don’t want us to get too down about it, and we know the areas we’ve got to improve.

“All the top five have got to bat better, particularly under pressure, and we just need that one breakthrough knock where someone takes the game away from the opposition.”

Gale thought Yorkshire could have followed Renshaw’s example and batted more positively, with the Australian swinging hard and riding his luck at times.

The opener hit 112 before Yorkshire hit back through some excellent bowling from Coad and Jack Brooks.

“Fair play to Renshaw, he came out and chanced his arm,” said Gale. “The lads swear he nicked off early doors, which we thought was a poor decision, and had that gone our way and a couple of chances that went up in the air gone to hand then it might have been a different game.

“But I thought our bowling was outstanding, particularly Coad and Brooks, who gave us a chance of winning the match.

“Then for Jack Leaning to bat like he did second innings was fantastic and hopefully he’ll get a lot of confidence from that.”

Hopes that Yorkshire could chase what would have been the eighth-highest winning total in their history were immediately rocked when they lost a wicket to the opening ball of the final day.

In watery sunshine India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara nibbled at an out-swinger from Lewis Gregory and was well caught by wicketkeeper Steven Davies, tumbling to his right.

It was a fourth successive failure for Pujara, whose scores thus far have been 2, 18, 7 and 6.

When Adam Lyth edged Tim Groenewald to first slip and captain Gary Ballance was caught behind Yorkshire had lost three wickets inside the first half-hour, their challenge effectively done at 81-4.

Matt Waite was next to go when he tried to turn a ball to leg and got a leading edge back to bowler Craig Overton, who then trapped Andrew Hodd lbw to leave the visitors 103-6.

It brought together arguably Yorkshire’s two most obdurate batsmen, Pujara excepted, in the form of Leaning and Bresnan, who knuckled down in the build-up to lunch and then at the start of the afternoon session.

Although Yorkshire’s victory hopes had ostensibly gone, the pair at least showed fighting spirit.

They added 56 for the seventh-wicket in 29 overs, their stand finally broken when Abell brought himself on to bowl some rapid deliveries, one of which pinned Bresnan lbw to give the captain only his fourth first-class wicket in his 47th match.

Brooks is hardly the worst No 9 (he has a first-class hundred to his name), and he proved it by striking 21 from 16 balls, including four fours.

But after clubbing Groenewald for successive off-side boundaries, Brooks thumped another drive back to the bowler, who threw out an instinctive right hand and somehow clung on.

Yorkshire slipped to 191-9 when Abell had Coad caught at second slip by Marcus Trescothick, and the game ended when Leaning top-edged a pull off Overton to square-leg where Renshaw, fittingly, took the catch.

Leaning, for whom this was an important innings amid competition for the batting spots, faced 172 balls and struck eight fours.

Somerset thus claimed a well-deserved victory by 20 points to three, the first time that they have won their opening two Championship games in a season for 25 years.

For Yorkshire, who return to action on Friday against Essex at Chelmsford, the need for greater consistency with the bat remains clear, a target they hope will be assisted by the availability for that game of England’s Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.