Graceful Joe Root comes up short again in pursuit of first one-day Yorkshire century

Yorkshire batsman Joe Root.
Yorkshire batsman Joe Root.
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THERE are not many things missing from Joe Root’s CV.

A one-day century for Yorkshire is one of them.

The England Test captain has achieved most things in the sport at the still tender age of 26.

But how he would dearly love a limited-overs hundred for his county, an ambition that has so far proven elusive.

For a long while yesterday, as Yorkshire qualified for the Royal London Cup knockout stages despite slipping to a five-wicket defeat against Warwickshire, it seemed as though Root was going to achieve his aim.

He batted beautifully on his way to the top score of 83 as Yorkshire totalled 281-8 after winning the toss.

It was nice to get my first 50 for Yorkshire. I got 40 last week against Northants and that gave me a bit of confidence coming into today.

Yorkshire’s Matthew Waite

It was an innings so graceful and refined that it was akin to eating Sunday roast with the strains of Mozart reverberating in the background.

The cover-drives and on-drives were rich and melodious, and there was barely a hint of a discordant note.

But Root, who has nine one-day international centuries to his name, was left frustrated when he tried to chop a ball on to the offside off pace bowler Rikki Clarke that was perhaps a little too close to him and might even have climbed at the final moment.

Tim Ambrose took the edge behind the stumps, and Root had to be content with his highest one-day score for the club, beating the unbeaten 75 he made in the seven-wicket win at Notts in Yorkshire’s opening match in the tournament.

Root’s slow trudge off the field betrayed his disappointment, and his departure left Yorkshire 149-5 in the 33rd over.

From that position, the visitors did well to get up towards 300, something overwhelmingly attributable to splendid innings from Matthew Waite and Tim Bresnan.

Waite, the 21-year-old all-rounder, who hit a career-best 43 in last week’s win at Northampton, raised his personal bar with 71 from 58 balls with seven fours and two sixes, displaying a keen eye and a powerful style.

Bresnan, who was rested for the match in Northampton, returned with a sprightly 65 from 61 balls with four fours and four sixes, adding 116 for the sixth-wicket with Waite in 15.1 overs.

Both players took advantage of an extremely short square boundary towards the Hollies Stand, with the middle of the Edgbaston square being preserved for the forthcoming Champions Trophy.

Yorkshire were indebted to their sixth-wicket pair after the innings ran into early problems in glorious sunshine.

Adam Lyth was out to the first ball of the match, edging a delivery from Keith Barker to the wicketkeeper.

Jonny Bairstow popped a ball from Clarke to mid-on, where Grant Thornton judged a good catch diving forward to leave Yorkshire 16-2 in the fourth.

Peter Handscomb was third out with the total on 50, also caught behind off the excellent Barker, trying to drive outside off stump.

But Root, who played with an effortless manner, kept the scoreboard ticking and eased to his half-century from 60 balls, with captain Gary Ballance giving useful support.

The pair added 64 in 15 overs before Ballance helped a ball from Thornton down long-leg’s throat.

Moments earlier, Root might have been caught by Aaron Thomason at backward-point off Mark Adair, flashing hard when his score was 54.

But the ball flew through the fielder’s grasp and Root rubbed salt into the wounds when he cracked Adair’s next delivery to the boundary past the same man, as if emphasising the shot that he should have played to the previous ball.

When Root finally fell, after facing 98 balls and striking seven fours, Bresnan made his mark by lofting Clarke over the short mid-wicket boundary with barely a flick.

There was brute force but also finesse from the powerful Bresnan, who reached his own half-century from 49 deliveries.

Waite got to the landmark two balls faster and smashed successive leg-side sixes off Thornton before picking out long-on in the penultimate over.

Bresnan had perished in the previous over, driving the outstanding Patel to mid-wicket, while David Willey also holed out on the leg-side boundary in the 49th.

Yorkshire’s score was competitive, although one sensed that if Jonathan Trott and/or Ian Bell got going, particularly with the short boundary, that the target was achievable.

So it proved, with Trott and Bell playing key roles as Warwickshire won with 15 balls to spare.

Trott got the innings off to a flyer with Sam Hain, the openers adding 124 inside 21 overs before Trott skied Waite straight up to wicketkeeper Bairstow after making 70 from 69 balls.

Then Bell used all his class and experience to steady the chase after spinner Azeem Rafiq bowled Hain and Tim Ambrose in the space of three balls before later having Ateeq Javid caught around the corner.

Bell and Clarke (44 not out) shared 111 inside 18 before Bell, in trying to win the game with a boundary that would have brought up his hundred, skied Waite to Handscomb at mid-wicket to depart for 98 from 85.

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