Yorkshire’s patient approach is rewarded with emphatic victory

ONLY the weather ever threatened to hold up Yorkshire, but apart from a passing shower which delayed the start by 35 minutes and shaved nine overs off the day’s allocation, the match proceeded to a predictable finish.

Tim Bresnan

Yorkshire won by 271 runs at 2.45pm – their third County Championship victory of the season in their seventh match, and their second against Northamptonshire – after they snared the seven wickets they needed on the final day.

Northamptonshire, who had gone into the day needing 366 more runs for victory, to reach a target of 432, were never in the hunt. The only surprise, perhaps, was that they lasted for as long as they did, such has been their wretched form this year.

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Yorkshire, however, had to work for this win – and work for it they did after they were unexpectedly outplayed in the early stages.

Liam Plunkett, described by Yorkshires first-team coach Jason Gillespie as probably consistently the quickest bowler in the country this season, took the wicket of Maurice Chambers to complete his sides victory at Wantage Road (Picture: Steve Riding).

A total of 136 after they had been put into bat could not be excused by favourable bowling conditions, Northamptonshire responding with 251 to establish a first-innings lead of 115.

But it was no surprise when Yorkshire did hit back, courtesy of a whopping 546-3 declared in their second innings, founded on a magnificent opening partnership of 375 between Adam Lyth, who scored 230, and Alex Lees, who made 138.

It was the fourth-highest stand in Yorkshire’s history – the highest since Percy Holmes and Herbert Sutcliffe’s then world-record 555 in 1932 – and the entire Northamptonshire side could not get near it combined yesterday as they were dismissed for 160 in 64.1 overs before a threadbare crowd.

Once the passing shower had done its worst, blown along by a stiffening breeze to be replaced, for the most part, by watery sunshine, Tim Bresnan got the ball rolling for Yorkshire when he struck with the opening delivery of the day.

Operating from the Lynn Wilson Centre End, which faces the old pavilion and the dressing rooms, Bresnan was straight on the money with a ball that Matt Spriegel padded up to and was plumb lbw, leaving Northamptonshire 66-4.

Spriegel, 14 overnight, trudged dolefully back to the dressing room while the fielding side celebrated with great gusto.

It was just the tonic the visitors needed and it set the tone for what was to follow.

Half-an-hour later, Jack Brooks – once of this parish – had Rob Keogh caught behind off a brute of a ball that bounced sharply and took the edge as Northamptonshire slipped to 78-5.

Liam Plunkett got in on the act when he had Andrew Hall held at cover as the batsman checked what looked to be an attempted hook shot.

Hall struck four fours on his way to 24 from 18 balls, reasoning that attack was the best form of defence – a deduction that represented the definition of optimism.

The South African’s dismissal was neither one thing nor the other, the delivery from Plunkett appearing to beat him for pace and leave him stuck in two minds.

It was just a matter of patience for Yorkshire, as it so often is in fourth-day affairs.

One sensed that wickets were always likely to come; it was simply a case of ‘if’ not ‘when’.

After lunching on 119-6, Northamptonshire’s seventh wicket duly fell half-an-hour after the break when Plunkett had Ben Duckett caught behind.

The wicketkeeper, who was fishing outside off stump, had been softened up by some testing short stuff to the extent that it possibly scrambled his thinking.

Plunkett, again, was seriously quick – just as he has been for much of the summer.

He pinged Ian Butler, the No 9 batsman, on the helmet, the New Zealander momentarily looking dazed and confused.

Plunkett picked up his third wicket when another short delivery accounted for Rob Newton, who tried to steer it over the slips only to spoon it high above the cordon, from where Aaron Finch, running back, took a comfortable catch.

Newton, who had helped Northamptonshire to an improbable draw in their opening game against champions Durham, when he survived the final 10 overs with last man Mohammad Azharullah, top-scored with 33 from 108 balls in an innings that spanned two hours, 18 minutes.

Adil Rashid claimed the ninth wicket by trapping Butler lbw for a 37-ball duck, Plunkett rounding things off by bowling Maurice Chambers. It was a tame finish to the game by the home side, who have now lost their last five Championship matches.

Yorkshire, however, have no such concerns. The White Rose is marching onwards and upwards.