Yorkshire v Warwickshire: Gale calls on Yorkshire to ensure dominance counts

ANDREW GALE watched Yorkshire strengthen their grip on the County Championship and then warned they must cut out the sloppy sessions to make sure their hard work does not go to waste.

Yorkshire's Ryan Sidebottom is bowled by Warwickshire's Chris Woakes.

The Yorkshire captain was speaking after his side drew with champions Warwickshire, a result that extended Yorkshire’s lead at the top of the table to 10 points after defeats for title rivals Sussex and Durham.

Although delighted with Yorkshire’s performance in the first half of the match, which saw them score 302 before reducing Warwickshire to 196-8, Gale was less enamoured with their efforts thereafter as the visitors fought back in spirited fashion.

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After rallying to 309 and dismissing Yorkshire for 180 yesterday, Warwickshire were 3-0 in pursuit of 174 from 36 overs when rain ended play at 4.00pm.

“I thought we performed really well the first two days,” said Gale.

“I thought our first innings 300 was maybe a little bit below par and that we could have got 350, but the way we bowled second day we got ourselves into a very good position.

“We had a bad morning session on day three and that was uncharacteristic, and I couldn’t really put my finger on why.

“Maybe there were a few tired bodies around and the bottom line was we didn’t hit our straps with the ball, and that spilled over into our fielding as well.

“We didn’t back each other up in the field, and, if we’re going to go and win the Championship, then we need to have less of those sessions.

“I also thought we were a little bit soft in our second innings batting. We should have got more runs than 180 and if there hadn’t been rain around they were definitely in front.

“Having said that, we could still have made it tough for them because we could easily have got them, say, 40-4 with our bowling attack and it could have been an interesting finish.

“But we let them off the hook really after getting ourselves into a commanding position, and it’s something we need to be better at going forward.”

In truth, there was perhaps not much to choose between the sides.

With five games to go, Yorkshire remain in the box seat and they are set to have batsmen Phil Jaques and Joe Sayers available again after injury for their next Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on August 21.

Gale, who said he hoped Gary Ballance would be available for that fixture, and not taken by England Lions for games that week against Bangladesh A, believes three more wins should be sufficient.

“That should definitely take us home I think,” he added.

“Two wins would keep us right in the mix, but three would probably bring it home.

“We’re in a good position and other results have gone our way this week.

“We’ve just got to keep it going now until the end of the season.”

Hopes of a fascinating finish yesterday were ended by the weather, but there was at least some cricket for the smattering of spectators.

Yorkshire resumed on 148-7, a lead of 141, with Andrew Hodd and Ryan Sidebottom at the crease.

Sidebottom has always been a useful lower-order batsman, and few top-order players could have played any better a delightful clip off his legs for four off Chris Woakes which raced away to the East Stand boundary.

However, in an attempt to fashion something similar, Sidebottom fell to the next ball when Woakes knocked out his off-stump, the pace bowler’s fifth wicket of the innings.

At the other end, Hodd played a delightful cut for four off Boyd Rankin, who peppered Yorkshire with short deliveries.

It was not the prettiest tactic but it was effective; Steve Patterson fended him to short-leg with the total on 180 and, two balls later, Jack Brooks fended him into the hands of leg gully.

Rankin finished with 4-29, figures that perhaps flattered him a touch, and Woakes with 5-42, figures that rewarded a fine performance.

Varun Chopra and Ian Westwood opened Warwickshire’s second innings beneath gloomy skies before the forecast rain had the last word.

Yorkshire are considering buying the floodlights – and possibly some seating – from Don Valley Stadium.

The Sheffield stadium is closing later this year after the council said it could no longer afford to subsidise the venue, which costs between £600,000-£700,000 a year to run.

Yorkshire’s chief executive Mark Arthur said: “We are undergoing a feasibility study with regard to the floodlights and other elements of the soon to be decommissioned Don Valley Stadium.

“However, we are by no means certain to go down that route and there is nothing concrete to report at this stage.

“We need to install permanent floodlights at the ground by 2018, so there’s plenty of time to weigh up all options.

“We have to make sure that whatever we do is right for Headingley.”