Yorkshire v Somerset: Yorkshire improve but face a daunting challenge

Missed chance: Acting Yorkshire captain David Willey, right, hits the stumps but his timing is just off as Somerset's Tom Abell survives the run-out attempt. (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWPx)
Missed chance: Acting Yorkshire captain David Willey, right, hits the stumps but his timing is just off as Somerset's Tom Abell survives the run-out attempt. (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWPx)
0
Have your say

SCIENTISTS estimate that every second since the Big Bang, a star the size of our sun burns out and goes to heat death.

That means that more than 11 million stars in the universe have completely disappeared, gone to nothing, since Yorkshire’s previous County Championship game at Emerald Headingley, which was way back on April 23 when they beat Notts by 164 runs.

A mere 128 days on from that match, four-day cricket returned to the ground yesterday, Somerset scoring 374-8 after being sent into bat.

So much has changed since that Notts game, in fact, that almost all of the new stand at the rugby end of the ground has been built ahead of its opening next year, a stand from which workmen occasionally watched yesterday in between putting the latest touches to the multi-million project.

Since that match too, Yorkshire’s star has waned while that of Somerset has contrastingly risen.

Yorkshire went into this game third-bottom of the First Division, one place and five points above the relegation zone, while Somerset arrived in second-place, 32 points behind a Surrey side they harbour hopes of catching still.

Yorkshire's Jack Brooks celebrates with Andrew Hodd after taking the wicket of Somerset's Tom Abell. (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWPix.com)

Yorkshire's Jack Brooks celebrates with Andrew Hodd after taking the wicket of Somerset's Tom Abell. (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWPix.com)

To do so, they could certainly do with victory here, while Yorkshire need points for different reasons.

Just as important, after last week’s innings defeat to then-bottom club Worcestershire at Scarborough, Yorkshire needed to deliver a response, a demonstration through actions, not simply words, of how much that result hurt them.

To that effect, as summer reared its head once again, with the ground bathed in glorious late-August sunshine, the commitment, for sure, could not be faulted.

The bowlers ran in all day, spearheaded by Jack Brooks, who is joining Somerset at the end of the season and who displayed his commitment to doing the best that he possibly can before then by taking 4-103 from 25 overs, supported by acting captain David Willey, who returned 2-66 from 23.

But there was more vitality, perhaps, than at Scarborough last week, where there felt a certain inevitability about events and, said some, the destiny of the season.

Chris Waters

Fielders chased and competed for everything, the only real blemishes being a tricky-ish dropped catch in the afternoon when Matthew Fisher spilled James Hildreth running back over his shoulder at square-leg off Brooks when the batsman had 75 of his 81 runs, and a more culpable miss in the evening when Josh Shaw grassed Lewis Gregory on 45 at deep cover off Harry Brook.

But there was more vitality, perhaps, than at Scarborough last week, where there felt a certain inevitability about events and, said some, the destiny of the season.

In initially overcast conditions, Yorkshire chose to bowl on a good-looking pitch, hoping to exploit the assistance on offer.

This they did well in the early stages, reducing Somerset to 5-2 inside eight overs as they found plenty of bounce and enough movement.

Brooks had Ed Byrom caught behind by Andrew Hodd, who was recalled from the second team game at Taunton after first-choice wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall suffered a back spasm; then Willey had Marcus Trescothick caught at second slip by Adam Lyth, the former England man getting a thick edge as he dabbled at one outside off stump.

But as the sun came out, with conditions steadily improving, so Somerset recovered with similar lustre.

Hildreth and Azhar Ali, the former Pakistan captain, added 137 for the second wicket, a partnership that endured until the 11th over after lunch.

Hildreth, who averaged a mere 13.8 in first-class cricket at Headingley going into the game, went on to his highest Championship score there, his 81 comprising 100 balls and including 15 fours.

It was a fine performance, Hildreth pulling and driving with particular flourish, while Azhar played in a not dissimilar manner to double centurion Moeen Ali at Scarborough last week in that he reined himself in and only hit the balls that asked to be hit.

After Hildreth was third out with the total on 142, caught at first slip by Tom Kohler-Cadmore off a ball from Willey that slanted across him, Azhar reached a patient half-century from 118 deliveries.

Somerset slipped to 170-4 when Brooks had Tom Abell caught behind, rather defending on the walk to a ball that left him, and the score at tea stood at 205-4, an impressive riposte to those early setbacks.

Shaw then bowled Azhar as he tried to work him to leg, Azhar striking 89 from 178 balls with 12 fours, but from 229-5 Somerset rebuilt again through Steven Davies and Gregory, the latter setting the template for a rollocking innings when he lofted his second ball for a straight six off Lyth.

The sixth-wicket pair plundered 114 in 17.1 overs before Gregory hit Brooks to New Zealander Kane Williamson at deep mid-wicket, Gregory smashing 65 from 46 balls with nine fours and three sixes.

Brooks captured his fourth wicket three balls later when Davies drove to cover, his 80 coming from 122 balls with 13 fours, and Shaw claimed his second just before stumps when Craig Overton chased after a wide one and was caught behind.

Test match: Page 21