Yorkshire v Warwickshire: Yorkshire look to set-up run chase at York

IF EVER a moment summed up the unique appeal of outground cricket it was when Adam Lyth pulled a ball from his former Yorkshire team-mate Oliver Hannon-Dalby into a garden separated by a 10-foot wall.

Yorkshire's Jack Leaning hits out. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“Please, mister, can we have our ball back?” one of the groundstaff may or may not have said as he proceeded to climb a ladder and direct an unknown hand to where the ball landed.

It was just as well that the ball was thrown back, for this has developed into a fascinating game.

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One is tempted to say that it is the most fascinating first-class game in York for 129 years, but that would be a glib comment considering that the previous one was in 1890.

Levity aside, the crowd have had good value for money, with 1,138 filling Clifton Park on a third day on which morning rain gave way to strong afternoon sunshine.

After play began an hour late at noon, causing the loss of 16 overs, Warwickshire lifted their first innings score from an overnight 192-5 to 254 before being bowled out in the first over after the lunch interval.

That gave Yorkshire a first innings lead of five runs, the narrowest of margins for which they were grateful, which they had stretched to 183 come close of play as they finished on 178-7.

Jack Leaning is still there on 47, the tight and tense match situation perfectly suited to a man who has always thrived on a battle.

“Jack’s played superbly and it’s all set up for day four,” said Rich Pyrah, the Yorkshire bowling coach.

“If we can make them chase over 200 then it’s going to be a really good game.

“It’s been really hard-fought and enjoyable to watch, a sort of old school game in many ways.

“It’s one of those pitches where you have to work really hard to score your runs, and hopefully we can manage to get over the line.”

That Clifton Park attracted another four-figure crowd after 2,560 had turned up on day one and 3,021 on day two was a fair achievement, given that the weather forecast had been gloomy in the extreme.

Practically the only pleasure while one waited for the rain to relent – at least for those journalists working away on the clubhouse balcony – was to savour the waft of bacon in the air from a nearby refreshment stall, although that temptation soon became impossible to resist.

Suitably nourished, it was possible to jot down an early wicket when David Willey had Sam Hain caught at second slip by Adam Lyth, with only nine runs added to the overnight score.

Moments later, Yorkshire took the new ball, but it disappeared off Craig Miles’s bat rather quickly as the Warwickshire No 8 struck three handsome boundaries off Ben Coad – a cover-drive, a whip to the mid-wicket rope and a crunching off-drive that might just have been the shot of the day.

Coad, however, exacted revenge, Miles lazily lofting him to mid-off, where Steve Patterson did the rest.

Jordan Thompson nipped in with two wickets in four balls either side of lunch, Jeetan Patel brilliantly caught off the inside edge by wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall, diving one-handed to his left, and Liam Norwell trapped in front.

It was left to Willey to round things off, the England man having Tim Ambrose caught at first slip by Tom Kohler-Cadmore as the last three wickets fell in six balls.

Yorkshire’s innings began as it so often does, with the first wicket falling for not many runs.

Having seemingly turned a corner with successive fifty stands in the previous two games, openers Lyth and Will Fraine have compiled partnerships of only eight and three this time, Fraine the first to fall yesterday when he was pinned in front by Hannon-Dalby.

The Halifax-born pace bowler, who took five wickets in the first innings, followed up by having key man Gary Ballance caught at first slip by Will Rhodes, another ex-Yorkshire player.

Hannon-Dalby bowled well once more and it developed into an intriguing contest as Yorkshire sought to grind out a match-winning advantage.

Kohler-Cadmore chipped in with 20 before feathering behind, and a Lyth vigil lasting over two hours ended five balls after tea when he skied high into the leg-side, wicketkeeper Ambrose taking the catch to leave Yorkshire 97-4.

Tattersall and Leaning added 30 before Tattersall threw his bat at one from Hannon-Dalby and was caught behind, giving Hannon-Dalby eight wickets in a match for the first time.

Patel bowled Thompson pushing forward and then had Willey stumped with a well-flighted delivery that teased him out of his ground.

But further breakthroughs proved elusive for Warwickshire, for whom opening bowler Norwell went off after seven overs with a hamstring problem.

Leaning, who held firm for 162 minutes, and Patterson added an unbroken 38 in 10 overs, raising the prospect of York’s showpiece fixture gaining the memorable finish it deserves.