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  • Yorkshire v Middlesex, Scarborough, 3rd day

Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top

Jon Culley at North Marine Road
July 23, 2013 « Van Gaal: 'Dreadful' US tour could hinder my success | Day 6: Maria Ho eliminated, 68 left »

Yorkshire 253 (Lyth 117, Finn 4-81) and 400 for 5 dec (Gale 126*, Leaning 76) beat Middlesex 232 (Simpson 110, Malan 78) and 201 (Simpson 61, Rashid 4-27) by 220 runs
Scorecard

Yorkshire went back top of the Championship as Adil Rashid 's destruction of the lower order rapidly ended what had been prolonged Middlesex's resistance on the final day at North Marine Road. Rashid, as ever asked to switch himself on the instant a favourable pitch presents itself, bowled his legspinners superbly to exploit the bounce and turn. It was his run of four wickets that broke Middlesex.

"We knew it would take patience, we knew those 50-50 moments, the catches that do or don't go to hand, would have to go our way," Jason Gillespie said afterwards, relieved that Yorkshire's quest for 10 wickets on the final day had paid off.

Yorkshire's Australian coach is not one to betray doubt but there must have been moments when he wondered if the luck was going to be with Middlesex. Their task, in theory, was to score 422 runs to win after Yorkshire's overnight declaration; in practice it was to survive 96 overs somehow and escape with a draw. At tea, it appeared they might just pull it off, leaving Yorkshire still behind key rivals Nottinghamshire in the race for the title, their game in hand gone.

Middlesex had given up chasing even before lunch, adding only 17 to their total in the final 11 overs of the morning session, reaching the interval at 89 for 2. Their resistance suffered a further setback when Chris Rogers was out to a brilliant one-handed slip catch by Adam Lyth, one of seven he took in the match, and a jubilant Steve Patterson struck with the very next ball, pinning Paul Stirling leg before.

Rogers had been the force behind an improbable Middlesex victory at Lord's in April, contributing a double hundred to a record-breaking run chase, and to see him walking back to the pavilion for 44 gave Yorkshire a sense that the day was going to go their way. Middlesex were not to be brushed aside that easily, however, and reached the next haven, the tea interval, with no more casualties. At 155 for 4, with 33 overs left, it was Yorkshire who were starting to feel twitchy.

Brooks praise for Rashid display

  • Yorkshire's Jack Brooks moved to the front in the contest to be Division One's leading wicket-taker, his three wickets giving him 49 for the season, although he was eager to sing Adil Rashid's praises aftewards.
  • "We were always confident that we could take the 10 wickets in the day," he said. "When you've got a legspinner like Adil Rashid in the team, if he comes to the party and bowls well he is very difficult to play. The pitch had a bit more bounce and a bit of spin and some carry for the seamers so you are always in the game, and we knew too that if we had needed it we would have had 16 overs with the new ball at the end.
  • "There are not many pitches around the country that do turn big but Adil stepped up when it was needed. He is a very skilful bowler who has a really good googly as well and when he is on form he is really aggressive with his bowling. He is finding a bit of consistency as well."
  • Yorkshire's coach, Jason Gillespie, played down the significance of his side moving to the top of the table ahead of the switch to 50-over cricket that will dominate the next six weeks or so, but Chris Rogers, the Middlesex captain, was happy to back them for the title.
  • "They were my tip at the beginning of the season and I will stick with that," he said. "We played well at times in this match but were outplayed in the end. Yorkshire have a bowling attack as good as any in the competition and batsmen who are in form, and that's a pretty good mix."

Now it was Eoin Morgan and John Simpson who were threatening to puncture their bubble. Morgan, digging deep to find his self-denial mode, was as resilient as Rogers could have wished, with Simpson equally so. Simpson offered a difficult chance to short leg on 28 that Jack Leaning could not cling on to but no clear chances were offered.

Yorkshire's resolve was under examination as much as Middlesex's but though it took almost 30 overs for the fifth-wicket pair to be prised apart the breakthrough came, in the fourth over after tea and it sparked a Middlesex collapse in which their last six wickets fell for 38 runs in the space of 14.2 overs.

Morgan was the first to go, having faced 137 balls in a vigil lasting two hours and 43 minutes. Rashid then proved himself to be the spin-bowling matchwinner Yorkshire yearn for.

Morgan played back to a ball it appeared he had thought would turn more and nudged it into the gloves of wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, prompting Andrew Gale to step up the pressure, with no need to worry about leaking runs. Every subsequent batsmen had a circle of close fielders for Rashid's leg-spin and googlies, while the seamers ran in with a line of six slips and gullies.

Jack Brooks proved the most effective. Overshadowed by Ryan Sidebottom in the first innings, he delivered his best spell of the match. inducing Toby Roland-Jones to edge to Bairstow and Simpson, finally, to deflect one to third slip for a gallant 61. Brooks finished with 3 for 30, giving him 49 wickets in the Championship.

But it was Rashid who deserved to be the toast of the dressing room. Rising to the moment admirably, he had Ollie Rayner was caught at second slip sweeping, had Tom Helm edging to second and finally Tim Murtagh looping a catch that the irrepressible Lyth took in the leg slip position, having run behind Bairstow.

Rashid finished with four for 27 and Yorkshire, completing victory with an hour to spare, take a five-point lead in the title race.

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