Surrey v Yorkshire: Champions frustrated in stalemate but Gillespie hails Lyth display

Yorkshire opener Adam Lyth
Yorkshire opener Adam Lyth
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After the loss of 142 overs to inclement weather in the opening two days of the game the players of Surrey and Yorkshire bowed to the inevitable at 5pm and shook hands on a rain-ruined draw.

What started as a keenly anticipated Specsavers County Championship clash petered out tamely with part-time spinners enjoying a twirl in the hallowed surrounds of the Kia Oval where Surrey reached 106 for one, 38 overs into their second innings – to still trail by 34 runs when stumps were drawn.

The relegation threatened hosts banked 10 points for their fourth draw of the campaign, while Yorkshire, who move up to fourth on the table, took home 13pts after dominating much of the play that was possible over four bleak days in SE11.

Yorkshire’s coach Jason Gillespie said: “We sat down after our recent game in Scarborough and identified a few areas we might improve upon and one of those was the conversion rate amongst our batsmen, so Adam Lyth answered that here in no uncertain terms. It was a chanceless ‘big daddy’ double hundred and that’s exceptional.

“It’s a fantastic league this year, there’s no doubt about that but we’re not bothered just yet where we sit in the table. For me it’s more about how we’re going about our business.

“Middlesex have played well in this round, but we can’t control what they do and can’t concern ourselves with it. We knew we have seven games left with three of those are at home, including a game at Scarborough, and these are home venues where we know we can play very good cricket. That’s what we’ll focus on.”

Having batted on well into the mid-session, the visitors left themselves a minimum of 52 overs to pull off an unlikely win but, despite ringing the bat with close fielders, they could only pick up the wicket of Rory Burns.

Off balance and working to leg against the first delivery from spinner Azeem Rafiq, Burns chipped back a return catch to go for 14.

It proved Yorkshire’s only success of a dull afternoon that had started in confusion when a new umpire appeared out in the middle. It emerged that Neil Bainton had been taken ill during the interval break and had been replaced at the start of Surrey’s second innings by Tony Pigott, the ECB’s appointed cricket liaison officer for the fixture.

The day began with all eyes on Yorkshire opener Adam Lyth, who seemingly had his sights set on improving his career-best 251scored in the 2014 Roses match at Old Trafford.

Lyth lost his first partner of the day after 75 minutes’ play when Zafar Ansari bowled Steven Patterson to end a fourth wicket-stand with Lyth that added 91 inside 26 overs.

Lyth carried on where he had left off on day three, posting his 150 off 233 balls and with 15 fours and a brace of sixes but Steven Patterson, who had just posted an 87-ball 50 with seven fours, had his timbers rearranged by Zafar Ansari with Yorkshire 20 ahead on first innings.

Adil Rashid might have departed with his score on two when he skied to long-on only to see Jason Roy down a steepling catch off Ansari. The blunder hardly mattered, however, as Ansari got his man caught at slip to make it 324 for five, which brought Tim Bresnan to the crease.

The former England all-rounder lasted only 11 deliveries before missing an attempted slog-sweep against Gareth Batty to depart lbw for only three.

Liam Plunkett joined forces with Lyth to up the run-rate either side of lunch with Plunkett plundering three fours and two sixes in his cameo 37 that ended with a run out. Having clattered the ball to deep cover, Plunkett called for a chancy second run only to be beaten home by the throw to the striker’s end.

Lyth marched on to his double hundred, reaching the landmark with an uppercut for six that cleared the ropes at third man off a Stuart Meaker bouncer. It was Lyth’s fifth six, to go with 17 boundaries in his 291-ball innings.

Meaker got his man next ball up, however, when Lyth, in aiming to clear the ropes again, skied to proffer a simple catch to Steven Davies, keeping wicket in place of the injured Ben Foakes.

Though they had 400 on the board for maximum bonus points, Yorkshire batted on allowing Tom Curran to pick up the wicket of Andrew Hodd (5) following a stunning diving catch in the covers by Rory Burns. David Willey (2) then holed out to deep mid-wicket to end the innings.