Yorkshire step up bid to retain title with emphatic Roses win
Yorkshire stepped up their bid to retain the County Championship title with an emphatic victory by 175 runs over Lancashire at Headingley.
The result left Yorkshire level on points with Lancashire, who still lead the table by virtue of having the greater number of wins, while Durham are breathing down their necks just one point behind.
This was only Yorkshire’s second home Roses victory in the past 25 seasons and the first at home since 2001 when they went on to clinch the title for the first time in 33 years.
“Conditions were a worry because I feared there could be a little bit of rain and the light didn’t get any better,” Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale said.
“But wickets have fallen against the new ball before and it can be a difficult track to bat on against the new ball.
“We have looked a lot more balanced with Tim Bresnan back. He has been a massive miss for us because he gives us balance and control and bowling-wise I think it was our best performance of the season.
“Our top five batsmen are not firing as we would like but we are working hard to get it right. We are still winning games of cricket while not firing fully as a team.
“Our form doesn’t warrant being top of the league but we are finding ways to win, as Durham have done in the past.”
Yorkshire were grateful for the Headingley floodlights, installed before the start of last season, and which were on constantly from 11.40 on the third morning - at a cost of £130 per hour.
Bresnan, in his first Championship game of the season after recovering from a calf injury, finished with four for 36 while spinner Adil Rashid had 4-17 but his match figures of seven for 54 rather flattered him.
Lancashire’s cricket director and head coach, Ashley Giles, said: “It was a tough challenge to chase the runs and we were confident of going for the win but conditions in the morning didn’t help when it was dark and overcast.
“Our aim was to bat for a while after losing some wickets and Brown and Livingstone did it very well but over the four days we have to hold our hands up and Yorkshire were the better team.
“We knew this would be our biggest challenge so far this season and we opened the door on the first morning but didn’t quite get through it. Bresnan and Rashid batted very well and Yorkshire’s tail wagged in both innings.
“We can learn from this defeat because if we are to be Champions we have to win against sides like this on their own turf. We are still top of the table but need to be more consistent away from Old Trafford.”