Cricket: Byas and Bevan in century heaven

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The Independent Online
reports from Middlesbrough

Yorkshire 340 Gloucestershire 19-0

On a day when David Byas became the first batsman to reach 1,000 first- class runs and Michael Bevan hit his maiden Championship century for Yorkshire, you could be forgiven for thinking that Gloucestershire did not have too much going for them at Acklam Park yesterday.

They lost the toss, the pitch was a good one and it was hot enough not only for three drinks intervals but for sun cream to be on sale at the White Rose shop. At 219 for 2 some sides might have melted away to obscurity, but Gloucestershire's new-found resilience never wavered.

Jack Russell's subtle handling of his bowlers kept his side looking positive and purposeful, which led to rewards later when Javagal Srinath took three wickets in eight balls while some brilliant catching typified out-cricket that stood up well to the day's demands.

There might have been an unhappy ending for Russell himself, though, when a delivery from off-spinner Martyn Ball rose out of the foot marks and hit him in the face. He went off as a precautionary measure, with Andrew Symonds keeping wicket, but he resumed later.

Yorkshire's disappointment at failing to build on the centuries of Byas and Bevan will be tempered by the fact that they have 300-plus in the bank, the occasional ball has already turned, and in this kind of heat on a club pitch anything could happen.

Whoever initiated the signing of Srinath clearly takes some credit for his part in Gloucestershire's revival. With the new ball, his whippy action from close to the stumps regularly passed or found the edge, and the one which removed Michael Vaughan was a beauty.

With Michael Smith swinging the ball at the other end, Byas and Bevan had their work more than a little cut out. Bevan has found more than one way of getting out cheaply against most sides this year and he might have gone without scoring if Mark Davies had made a direct hit when he scrambled his first single.

Byas, in an otherwise typically solid knock, also survived a hard chance at 43. Bevan had started to look at ease when Russell's juggling one-handed catch cut him off. There was a considerable bonus when Byas lost his middle stump to a full toss from Srinath, but the yorker which removed Paul Grayson and the spectacular catches by Ball and Monte Lynch which contributed to the loss of seven wickets for 86 runs were more typical of Gloucestershire's approach to a tough job.