Cricket: Batty in time to slow up progress: From Derek Hodgson in Scarborough

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire 508 and 171-3 dec; Northants 359-8 dec and 298-8. Match drawn

HAD Northamptonshire specifically requested a dress rehearsal for tomorrow's NatWest final they could not have expected better than Yorkshire's challenge here: 321 to win in 60 overs.

Given the restrictions of limited overs they would probably have won comfortably. Here, on a still bland surface, a fascinating duel developed between Yorkshire's young off-spinner, Jeremy Batty, and that formidable all-rounder, David Capel. Were Yorkshire too generous?

Martyn Moxon would argue that he had to give his bowlers the maximum time if Yorkshire were to force a win but he must have considered, in these conditions and with only two capped bowlers on his side, that all he could hope for was rain and a draw; a glimpse of victory was more than he or the crowd expected.

Yorkshire extended their overnight lead to 320, Moxon declaring soon after he had completed his fifth century of the season, not the most taxing as Northamptonshire had the spinners serving up lollipops in the final half-hour of the morning. Fordham and Felton had another of their Ferrari starts, 50 coming in 12 overs. Once Moxon called on Batty the match took on a better balance, Nigel Felton falling when he tried to lift Batty over the top and edging to deep cover.

Alan Fordham and Rob Bailey were content to cruise along at four to five runs an over knowing they then had overs and wickets in hand. The pair had added 93 in 19 overs when Fordham, 93 off 108 balls, flicked off his legs to give deep square leg a difficult tumbling catch.

The turning point came when Batty, with 79 needed, bowled Bailey and Kevin Curran with successive balls. Mal Loye was swiftly taken at slip which left the target 64 needed off eight overs with five wickets standing.

Capel's 50 came with a straight six off Batty, he included two other sixes in his 44 balls; he lost Tony Penberthy to a remarkable overhead catch and was then run out himself by Simon Kellett's throw; 28 were needed off 18 balls and David Ripley was stumped and that was quite enough excitement for this day. The pertinent question remains: if two teams can score at five an over on the fourth day why cannot they do that on the first three?

Indian players may be snubbed by leading club sides next season. Two Indians recently left before the end of the season, their absence being covered by sick notes, but then played matches in the Duleep Trophy on their return to India. The League Cricket Conference later this month will discuss a boycott.

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