Yorkshire CCC: Rashid and Ballance keep Warwickshire at bay

Yorkshire's Gary Ballance hits out.

Yorkshire's Gary Ballance hits out.

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Relegation-threatened Yorkshire stubbornly refused to buckle under pressure from LV= County Championship title contenders Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

Ryan Sidebottom, with his second five-wicket haul since returning to his native county, and Moin Ashraf quickly wrapped up the home side’s first innings for 318 but not before they had claimed an extra batting point to draw level with overnight Championship leaders Lancashire.

Yorkshire openers Joe Root (49) and Joe Sayers (23) cleared off a deficit of 37 and half-centuries by Anthony McGrath, Gary Ballance and Adil Rashid gave them a chance of challenging for an unexpected victory.

Danger

On reaching 319-5 at the close, they held a lead of 282 and the scenario for the final day is whether they can close up to Worcestershire in the danger area or – and this is now less likely – whether Warwickshire will take a big step towards their first title since 2004.

So far Yorkshire, through their bowling and their batting, have shown the strength of character they will need if they are to stay in Division One.

When Shivnarine Chanderpaul completed a century on the second day, Warwickshire were looking at a big lead but after taking the new ball shortly before the close Yorkshire snaffled the last six wickets for 46 in 16 overs.

Sidebottom bowled superbly throughout this period. Having removed Chanderpaul overnight, he had Tim Ambrose caught in the gully for 69, giving him a return of 5-43, and the impressive Ashraf removed Chris Woakes and Keith Barker with catches behind the wicket.

When Rikki Clarke was last out, leg-before to Ajmal Shahzad for 23, Yorkshire had put themselves back into contention only a week after crumbling to a heavy defeat by Warwickshire at Headingley.

A compelling return meeting continued to swing from one side to the other.

Yorkshire reached 42-0 in their second innings by lunch but on-loan seamer Chris Wright made a double breakthrough in a hostile first over of the afternoon.

Sayers edged low to first slip and the new batsman, Adam Lyth, was hit on the helmet – the ball running away for four leg byes – before he was trapped on the crease and given out leg-before.

Root survived further skirmishes with the lively Wright but was lbw to the ninth ball from left-arm spinner Chris Metters.

Anthony McGrath played positively through a tricky phase for Yorkshire, sharing in half-century stands with Root and Jonathan Bairstow, who eventually miscued Metters to mid-wicket after making 21.

Wright came back to have McGrath leg-before for 57, but Warwickshire ran out of momentum and inspiration as Ballance – unbeaten with 92 from 135 balls, his highest Championship score – and Rashid (62 not out) put on an unbroken 149 in 35 overs.

Cricket commentator Henry Blofeld proudly holds his OBE back in 2003. Blofeld will retire from his role as commentator on the BBC Radio 4's Test Match Special programme in September.

My dear old thing... Henry Blofeld to retire from TMS commentary job