Byas puts Yorkshire on higher ground

Glamorgan 135 and 212 Yorkshire 189 and 161-3 Yorkshire won by 7 wickets
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The Independent Online
DAVID BYAS and Michael Bevan did their best to construct a convincing case for the defence of the Park Avenue wicket as they steered Yorkshire, however briefly, to the top of the County Championship table.

The arrival at the Bradford ground of Donald Carr and Harry Brind, from the Pitchfinder General department of the Test and County Cricket Board, to investigate the umpires' reporting of the pitch the previous day raised the spectre of the winning points eventually being forfeited. But the inspectors decided the strip did not fall into either the "poor" or the "unfit" category, which means that Yorkshire will escape a formal censure, although the group felt that the pitch was not ideal for a four-day match.

Tim Lamb, the TCCB's secretary for cricket, said: "They accepted that the groundsman had tried to achieve more pace and bounce than has been the case on previous occasions at Bradford.

"But the panel did feel that there had been too much grass left on the pitch. This had occasionally produced very high bounce, which was the reason it was reported in the first place."

The two left-handers, Yorkshire's acting captain Byas and their still- acclimatising Australian import, guided Yorkshire to victory over Glamorgan before lunch yesterday. A first Championship half century of the season from Byas, leading the side because of Martyn Moxon's absence with a broken thumb, was the keynote.

The relaxed selectivity of his stroke-play on this supposedly villainous strip was illustrated by the way he advanced from his overnight 26 to his 50 by the direct route - six fours and no other scoring shots.

The basis of his shot selection was simplicity itself. Anything over- pitched he drove hard and straight. Anything short and around his legs he pulled vigorously, and anything inviting the sort of flashing outside the off-stump that accounted for so many of the wickets to fall in the first two days he left well alone.

Adrian Dale suffered in particular from Byas's clear vision of what needed to be done, although he waited for the arrival of Roland Lefebvre in the attack to complete his fifty, straight-driving his first ball for four.

Bevan, batting in conditions a good 20 degrees cooler than those he is used to, was less certain of himself. It was not until Glamorgan brought their West Indian paceman, Hamesh Anthony, into the attack that he cut loose, hitting him on the offside for two consecutive fours.

There were rumblings at the announcement of Headingley's planned redevelopment this week that, if Yorkshire are to spend the best part of pounds 20m on their headquarters, they are not going to be wildly enthusiastic about taking many games to outlying venues.

In all honesty, leaving the state of the pitch aside, there is little first class about the former Rugby League, football and current county cricket ground at Park Avenue. But one of its charms is the way you can look out over the city of Bradford and see the weather coming, several hills and valleys away.

It was no surprise, then, when rain arrived to delay Yorkshire's victory canter, raising the fear that any football fans in the two sides might miss all or part of the FA Cup final.Yorkshire's progress was further interrupted when Byas lost his wicket, charging yards down the pitch at Robert Croft and being stumped, despite an initial fumble by Colin Metson.

They were too close to their target to be denied now, however, and Bevan's four off Croft completed both his 50 and a win that leaves Yorkshire as the only county unbeaten in all competitions at this early stage of the season.