YOU WAIT more than a year for a Yorkshire first-wicket pair to post a 50-stand in first-class cricket and then it happens twice in the space of nine days.
After sharing 77 against Essex at Emerald Headingley last week, the club’s first first-wicket stand of 50-plus since May 2018, Adam Lyth and Will Fraine added 51 against Surrey at Guildford.
Sadly, that was where the good news ended on a third day on which only 27.4 overs were possible due to rain/bad light.
Yorkshire reached 58-1 in their first innings in reply to 313, the match going nowhere just like cars stuck on the nearby M25.
As County Championship games go, this has been a write-off, with the first day completely washed out and the prospects for day four not looking good.
A draw suits neither team; defending champions Surrey, winless in five, are desperate to claim their first victory of the season, while Yorkshire, in third, want to maintain the pressure on leaders Somerset.
It’s the kind of surface where if we’d played a full four days it would have been a decent game of cricket, but we’ve been robbed just as we were for the last two weeks at HeadingleyYorkshire CCC captain Steve Patterson
On paper, that wonderfully deceptive commodity, this is a good time to play the champions, who are without 12 men due to injury/unavailability.
However, the chances of a positive result here appear to be zero, with no mood to risk anything on a final day that promises, at best, to be merely a battle for bonus points.
“We haven’t had any conversations about trying to set something up,” said Steve Patterson, the Yorkshire captain.
“The fact that we would be sacrificing potential batting points, it would have to be something that was really in our favour, but, at this point, nothing’s been discussed.
“It’s frustrating with the weather, and it’s the story of our last few weeks really.
“It’s the kind of surface where if we’d played a full four days it would have been a decent game of cricket, but we’ve been robbed just as we were for the last two weeks at Headingley (when Yorkshire drew with Hampshire and Essex).”
Prior to Lyth and Fraine’s half-century stand, Patterson took the wicket he needed to return five for the innings, finishing with figures of 5-81 from 26.4 overs.
After Surrey resumed on 290-8 and Ben Coad had Morne Morkel caught at second slip by Lyth off the fourth ball of the morning, Patterson ended the innings when Jordan Clark top-edged a pull to mid-on, where Matthew Fisher judged a steepling catch (earlier, wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall had dropped Clark on nine standing up to Patterson).
Fisher was on as a substitute for Duanne Olivier, the South African pace bowler who will have a scan on a hip injury when the players return to Yorkshire.
Olivier bowled only 12 overs in the innings and looks a doubt for the Championship match against Warwickshire at York that starts on Monday.
Patterson, who took the second new ball in Olivier’s stead, commented: “It will be interesting to see how big ‘D’ is.
“We’re not quite sure to what extent he’s hurt himself at the moment.
“I imagine he’d be a doubt for Monday, but we’ll have to see what the physio says.
“We’ll know more when we get back to Leeds.”
When Yorkshire batted on a day when cricket was possible for the first two hours before torrential rain fell, Lyth and Fraine played nicely, although Fraine did have a scare on four when he was dropped at mid-off by Mark Stoneman off Morkel, a difficult chance as the fielder dived full-length to his left in an effort to claim a leading edge.
Fraine responded by whipping Matt Dunn to the boundary off his pads, and then steered him away to the backward-point rope.
Lyth cover-drove Clark with typical flourish, drawing appreciative applause from a small crowd who braved the biting conditions, but he was out for 30 when he was brilliantly caught by Will Jacks in the gully off Rikki Clarke, the fielder thrusting out his right hand to take an instinctive catch off a flashing drive.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire all-rounder Tim Bresnan has revealed that he is around three weeks from a return to first-team contention.
Bresnan, 34, damaged a calf muscle during the Championship game against Kent at Canterbury in mid-May.
“It should be around another three weeks, but it’s difficult because there’s no real second-team or Academy cricket to get some overs in,” he said.
“It’s going to have to be in the nets and stuff like that, but it’s a bit of a risk going straight into a first-class game having just bowled in the nets.
“The protocol is to prove your fitness in the seconds before you get pushed into the first-class stuff.
“It’s frustrating when you have an injury.
“But there is still a lot of cricket left to be played yet and – hopefully – I can contribute through the middle and latter parts of the season.”