Yorkshire CC: Yorkshire take huge step closer to the title

FIVE-STAR PERFORMANCE: Adil Rashid is congratulated by Yorkshire CCC team-mates Jonny Bairstow and Kane Williamson. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.
FIVE-STAR PERFORMANCE: Adil Rashid is congratulated by Yorkshire CCC team-mates Jonny Bairstow and Kane Williamson. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.
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Adil Rashid took 5-117 as Yorkshire completed a vital innings and 18-run victory over Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford yesterday and took a huge step towards winning the LV= County Championship for the first time since 2001.

But Yorkshire’s day was soured when captain Andrew Gale was banned for their last two matches. No sooner had Adam Lyth taken the final wicket to give the Tykes an innings-and-18-run victory that puts them 26 points clear of next opponents Nottinghamshire, was Gale served with the ban.

He will be absent for next week’s crunch match against second-placed Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge and the Headingley finale against Somerset a fortnight later after being punished following an altercation with Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince.

Aggrieved by what he perceived as delaying tactics by batsman Prince when Yorkshire were bowling on Tuesday evening, Gale spoke his mind rather too strongly, and a Wednesday morning apology to Lancashire skipper Glen Chapple was not sufficient to get him out of trouble.

The win was Yorkshire’s first in 16 Roses matches, a run stretching back to 2002, but even this triumphant assertion of local pride will matter little compared to the importance of helping Gale’s team secure the title.

On the day when fellow title-challengers Nottinghamshire lost to Durham at Chester-le-Street, the win at Old Trafford leaves Yorkshire in pole position ahead of the Trent Bridge side going into next week’s game between the top two.

For Lancashire, Durham’s victory and the defeat to Yorkshire leaves Glen Chapple’s team very deep in relegation trouble and the Old Trafford outfit probably need to win their last two matches to avoid the drop.

However, it took Yorkshire some time to assert their superiority on the final day in Manchester.

In the morning session Lancashire scored 97 runs for the loss of both Ashwell Prince and Steven Croft, both wickets being claimed by Rashid, who bowled unchanged throughout the 36-over session.

Prince was caught down the leg side by Bairstow for 40 although the South African did not look too happy with the decision, while Croft fell for 16 to a brilliant one-handed diving catch by second slip Kane Williamson.

However, Usman Khawaja reached his first century for Lancashire when he pushed a single off Steve Patterson, the Australian batsman reaching the landmark off 178 balls. By the interval, Khawaja had progressed to 111 not out, Alex Davies was unbeaten on seven and the deficit had been reduced to 91 runs.

The afternoon session, though, belonged entirely to Yorkshire.

Jack Brooks dismissed both Davies and Tom Smith with the new ball and then Rashid claimed the vital wicket of Khawaja, who was well stumped by Bairstow for 117, compiled over five hours of painstaking concentration.

Brooks then bowled Chapple before Simon Kerrigan was caught behind off Rashid for a single. A last-wicket stand of 44 between Stephen Parry and Tom Bailey merely delayed the inevitable and double centurion Adam Lyth sealed the win when he bowled Parry for 28.

Brooks finished with 3-61 and Rashid claimed match figures of 8-194 to add to his vital 159 not out.

Durham, meanwhile, found a new hero in 20-year-old Irish debutant Peter Chase as his five-wicket haul set up a 54-run win against Nottinghamshire.

Notts coach Mick Newell admitted his side would need to beat Yorkshire at home to get back into the race.

“We just have to win that one,” he said.

“Yorkshire are a very strong side and I imagine they will have Joe Root and Gary Ballance back (from England).”

Lancashire 278 all out and 314 all out, Yorkshire 610-6 dec.

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