Yorkshire settle for draw with Middlesex

Liam Plunkett.
Liam Plunkett.
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The final day of the Specsavers County Championship match between Yorkshire and Middlesex at Headingley saw only one session of play, with the inevitable draw confirmed.

Play started at 3.10pm following heavy overnight and morning rain, with Middlesex advancing their first innings from 108 for three to 272 for eight declared, including a fine unbeaten 65 for Australian Adam Voges.

The sodden outfield in front of the Football Stand was the reason why umpires Jeremy Lloyds and Richard Illingworth went through a series of inspections before giving play the green light after tea with a minimum of 38 overs to bowl.

A total of 198 overs were lost in the match, including a washed out first day on Tuesday.

Liam Plunkett picked up two of the five wickets to fall, the first of them in his first over of the day, the fifth in all, having replaced Ben Coad.

He bowled Paul Stirling for 24 with a nip-backer to leave the score at 137 for four after 37 overs before undoing John Simpson with extra bounce and getting him caught at second slip with 143 on the board in the 41st.

This was Plunkett’s final Championship appearance of the season due to England limited overs duty, with Adil Rashid also in the same boat. However, the leg-spinner only bowled five overs.

Coad returned to the attack and picked up the sixth wicket of the innings as Yorkshire clinched their second bowling point.

He had Middlesex captain James Franklin caught at second slip, with Adam Lyth taking his second catch as the score fell to 184 for six after 52 overs.

Rashid had James Harris (19) caught at deep square, leaving Middlesex at 206 for seven in the 58th.

That was the visitors first batting point, with Ollie Rayner’s 37 in a stand of 66 helping them reach 250 for a second batting point. They had a dart at reaching 300 before declaring immediately upon Rayner’s departure – bowled by Bresnan – to stop Yorkshire from getting a ninth wicket for another bowling point. There were 3.1 overs remaining.

Yorkshire take 11 points and Middlesex 10 from this draw, with the hosts leapfrogging the Lord’s-based county by a place to fifth in the Division One table courtesy of more wins.

They have both have 114 points with three left to play.

Second-bottom Somerset, having beaten Warwickshire at Edgbaston, closed the gap to 13 points.

Yorkshire travel to the Oval to face Surrey on Tuesday, another team who could be dragged into the fight for survival.

Middlesex host Hampshire at Uxbridge and Somerset host Lancashire at Taunton.

Speaking after the game, Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale said: “We obviously lost a lot of time to weather, which was frustrating.

“The most pleasing thing this week was how we approached our batting. We’ve had a difficult time with the bat, but over the last two weeks the work ethic and attitude towards it has been outstanding. You want to see that transferred out on the ground and we did that. The key is to replicate that in the last three games.

“It’s tight. There are four or five teams who can go down. If we bat like that, we know we’ve got the bowling attack to back it up. We are where we are because of the cricket we’ve played. It’s as simple as that. We are where we are because of some poor performances. But we can’t afford to look back. They chanced their arm a bit today. I still thought we bowled quite nicely. Voges played well, but I still thought we dominated the match really.”

Meanwhile, today was the final day that Yorkshire supporters could use the Football Stand before its redevelopment starts with the seats taken out on Monday.

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