Cricket: Byas the pick of the bunch

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The Independent Online
Somerset 309 & 69-3 Yorkshire 292

The leaders had a day of mixed emotions.They lost wickets regularly, finished the first innings 17 behind Somerset, but will have been delighted to find North Marine Road's turf more responsive. A similar surface for Nottinghamshire's arrival will also cheer Yorkshire, for they were fearing that two visits here would bring two more stultifying draws.

Batting again, Somerset soon lost Peter Bowler to a fast near-yorker and, under heavy pressure, they will need patience and application down the order today.

The warm sun and cool wind quickened the pitch, but it remained soft enough to help the seam, while Jeremy Batty demonstrated there was turn from the rough. So, all the bowlers had hope, the batsmen enjoyed the pace, the outfield was fast and a near 5,000 crowd had that rarity: a match in near perfect balance.

Somerset had a day of snakes and ladders. Michael Vaughan set off like a train, hit two superbly timed fours and stood his ground when a lifter from Andy Caddick brought an appeal for a catch behind. Yorkshire were still 58 for 1 in the 13th over when Martyn Moxon, who had just taken 16 off one over from Kevin Shine, went back to fend off a bumper that hit his left shoulder, and trod on his stumps.

Michael Bevan took three more boundaries off Shine before he lazily glided Batty to backward point. As Anthony McGrath walked in to bat, the man from the Times intoned: "I have seen this boy before, but I have yet to see him play an innings." McGrath duly cut the first ball he received into slip's hands.

Once Craig White had joined David Byas, Yorkshire prospered. The captain, on his home ground, made 88 in a fashion that epitomised his strength and determination - at least four of his 16 boundaries were scored by forcing the ball from outside his off stump through mid-on.

Byas added 57 with Craig White and 56 with Richard Blakey before being seventh out, bowled round his legs, while trying to move the ball to the onside. At that point Somerset were still hoping for a substantial lead but Darren Gough, swinging lustily, and then Chris Silverwood narrowed the deficit until Silverwood was last out flashing with a third bonus point eight runs away.

Caddick was the pick of the Somerset bowling, using the conditions with skill, and he was well supported by Graham Rose. The second-string bowling was, however, less impressive.

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