Yorkshire set for tight finish

YORKSHIRE need six wickets; Northants need 126 runs.
Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comPicture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

That is the equation heading into day four of the County Championship match at Headingley.

When bad light ended play at 6pm with 17.5 overs remaining, Northants were 94-4 in their second innings having been left to score 220 for victory.

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That target was considerably more than it looked likely to be when Yorkshire slipped to 86-6 in the morning session, but solid contributions from David Willey (41 not out), Harry Brook (39), Jordan Thompson (37) and Dominic Bess (32) ensured a final total of 247.

Willey led the way from the No 10 position (he would have batted at No 9 but for Steve Patterson acting as nightwatchman), the England all-rounder making his runs from 73 balls with three fours and three sixes.

The sixes were all hit leg-side in the same over off Gareth Berg, one whipped over the North East Stand boundary and the other two pulled.

Willey shared key stands of 65 for the ninth-wicket with Jordan Thompson and 33 with last man Duanne Olivier, which ensured that Yorkshire had a challenging target to defend.

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Willey and Thompson got to work after Brook fell to the third delivery of the afternoon session, caught at second slip by Rob Keogh off Wayne Parnell to leave Yorkshire 149-8.

Thompson also thumped a maximum when left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan was deposited over mid-wicket towards the West Stand as Northants struggled to control the run-rate, leaking too many boundaries.

Kerrigan exacted revenge when Thompson was caught behind pushing forward, and Parnell rounded off the innings by bowling Olivier for 11 to finish with 5-64 and 10-143 in the match, at which point tea was taken.

Earlier, in watery sunshine on another cold day, Gary Ballance was the first to fall after Yorkshire resumed on 43-3, 15 ahead.

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Ballance nibbled at a delivery from Parnell and was caught by Ben Curran at first slip for 16 to leave the hosts 55-4.

Yorkshire slipped to 60-5 when Parnell trapped Patterson with a delivery that came back, the Yorkshire captain making four.

Jonny Tattersall took Parnell for three fours in an over as the South African ran in from the Emerald Stand end: a clip through mid-wicket to get off the mark followed by a further two leg-side boundaries.

At the other end, Brook on-drove Gareth Berg for four and the sixth-wicket pair were looking good until Tattersall fell with the total on 86, caught behind defending at Tom Taylor.

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Bess appeared and promptly cover-drove his first delivery from Taylor to the West Stand boundary, later cracking a similar shot off the same bowler with blistering force.

Brook also hit the ball terrifically hard when driving Berg away through mid-wicket as Northants continued to leak boundaries despite the helpful conditions.

Further examples followed as Taylor again fed Bess’s cover drive, this time after switching to the Kirkstall Lane end, with the bowlers guilty of pitching too full.

Taylor did induce a half-chance when Bess edged behind on 23, but Ricardo Vasconcelos, the Northants captain and wicketkeeper, was unable to get a glove underneath the ball which disappeared to the boundary for good measure.

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Brook pulled Sanderson for six to raise the 50 stand before Bess fell in the last action of the morning session, trapped lbw by the former Yorkshire pace bowler Ben Sanderson to end a sixth-wicket stand worth 59.

After Willey and Thompson’s heroics with the bat, Thompson it was who soon had the Northants second innings in strife.

He had Tom Curran lbw playing across the line from the final ball of the second over and then pinned Charlie Thurston for a golden duck as he pushed forward.

Willey chipped in when Rob Keogh was caught at first slip by Kohler-Cadmore, who then dropped Vasconcelos on 25 when the total was 47 off the same bowler.

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Vasconcelos pulled the next delivery for four but Willey had the main hand in his subsequent dismissal, running him out with a direct hit from the mid-wicket area after the batsman pushed out a ball from Patterson.

Vasconcelos made 41 from 62 balls with seven fours and his departure left Northants 74-4 in the 18th over.

Saif Zaib, who made an important half-century in the first innings, took 25 balls to get off the mark and has one to his name, while Luke Procter ended on 20.

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