Warwickshire v Yorkshire - Day 4, close: Champions forced to settle for draw at Edgbaston
Warwickshire moved to the top of the embryonic Specsavers County Championship Division One table after their weather-ravaged clash with Yorkshire drifted to a draw at Edgbaston.
The Bears have so far drawn all three games, none of which have even reached the fourth innings due principally to the weather.
There was certainly never a chance of their tussle with the reigning champions yielding a positive result after vast swathes of it were lost to snow, sleet, rain and bad light.
On the final day, ironically the only full day’s play, Warwickshire extended their overnight 205 for two to 443-9 declared, harvesting full batting points, before Yorkshire responded after tea with 73 for two.
Adam Lyth was involved in all four of the morning wickets.
First he pounced at slip when Varun Chopra, after adding only six to his overnight 101, edged an attempted cut off Steve Patterson.
Lyth then struck twice in his first 23 balls of cunning twirl. Sam Hain’s unproductive start to the season continued when he was stumped for just 15. Then Jonathan Trott, having advanced to 74, edged an arm-ball to Alex Lees at slip.
When, just before lunch, Chris Woakes edged a drive at Adil Rashid, there was Lyth again at slip to take the catch.
Tim Ambrose and Rikki Clarke responded by adding 82 in 14 overs for the seventh wicket.
Clarke (51 from 46 balls) reached his half-century with a straight six off Rashid then skied a return catch to the bowler next ball.
Keith Barker and Jeetan Patel attacked briefly to secure maximum batting points before having their stumps rearranged by Rashid and Patterson respectively. But Ambrose remained unbeaten on 61 when the declaration left Yorkshire to bat through the last session.
Lyth went cheaply, pinned lbw by Patel, and Alex Lees was caught at long-leg off Boyd Rankin, having top-edged a pull.
However Gary Ballance and Andrew Gale batted together for 13.2 overs, including facing Ian Bell’s occasional off-spin, before stumps were drawn.
Home captain Bell said: “The challenge this morning was to get 400, which wasn’t going to be straightforward against a good attack, but we did it quite comfortably in the end.”
It was certainly a forgettable four days for Yorkshire whose pursuit of their third successive title has begun in staccato fashion with two draws, some worrying top-order fragility and an ankle injury, sustained during this match, to Ryan Sidebottom which will rule him out of next week’s game at Nottinghamshire at least.