Byas in favour

CRICKET Yorkshire 600-4 dec & 80-1 Worcestershire 453-5 dec
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The Independent Online
WHILE the rest of the country bathed in the heatwave, Scarborough laboured under a grey sky and endured a drought of action. Worcestershire played cautiously, as if batting on a treacherous, rain-affected wicket rather than the placid pitch on which Yorkshire had run up their biggest score this century.

Tim Curtis crept to his first Championship century of the season in just under six circumspect hours and was undefeated on 169 over two hours later, when Worcestershire declared after saving the follow-on.

Yorkshire then came out in the evening sunshine and saw Martyn Moxon play on to the third ball. But David Byas and Michael Vaughan easily and sensibly picked off the boundaries and enhanced their places in the England pecking order - Byas, who has made 250 in this match, will probably be called soon and Vaughan surely one day.

Earlier in the day, bowling with Richard Stemp, Vaughan had proved the pitch was too true to be good, by struggling to find any turn. But Vaughan drifted a slow straight one under Gavin Haynes's bat just before lunch. Just after, Stemp found the edge of David Leatherdale's bat and Craig White sprawled at gully to take the catch.

With the new ball came a surprising shower of runs. The six overs shared by White and Chris Silverwood cost 43 runs, with Curtis showing rare flair and Steven Rhodes plundering Silverwood's short bowling.

But such action was no more than a mirage in a cricketing desert. The runs evaporated completely when the dependable Mark Robinson and Stemp were called in to restore boring order. Eight overs followed during which Worcestershire made no progress at all.

Stemp even went round the wicket in the desperate hope of finding some rough, enabling Curtis to pack away his bat, which he had never been too keen on using anyway, and kick the ball to safety.

By the end of the third day, a total of 1,133 runs had been scored while only 10 wickets had fallen. If umpires are happy to report pitches where 15 wickets fall in a day, should they not do the same for a pitch where 15 may well fail to fall in four days? This is a drought that can be broken.