Cricket: Davis keeps roll going

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Yorkshire. . . . 310 and 201-3

Warwickshire. . .459

UNTIL the later stages here yesterday, everything was going more or less to plan for the championship leaders, Warwickshire, who are in a position to put significant daylight between themselves and their pursuers as the race for the title approaches its conclusion.

It is possible that Warwickshire, nine points ahead at the start of the present round, could enter the next with a lead of 23. First, however, they must defeat Yorkshire, a task which, by the close, was not looking quite as simple as they had hoped 20 overs before tea.

At that point, Yorkshire were beginning their second innings with a deficit of 149. With the exception of Brian Lara, who left the pavilion as if dragging a ball and chain, Warwickshire had a discernible spring in their step.

In the circumstances, given they are themselves candidates for the wooden spoon, the home side might have been forgiven for showing caution, but Martyn Moxon and Michael Vaughan attacked the bowling without shackles. In 10 overs they put on 50 runs against a startled Warwickshire attack, Vaughan collecting four boundaries in one over off Gladstone Small. At tea they were still together with the total 85.

Richard Davis, the left- armer in a twin-barelled spin attack with Neil Smith, bowled Vaughan with his arm ball with the fourth delivery after tea, denying the England Under-19 batsman a half-century richly deserved after hitting nine boundaries. Davis followed this by taking a gentle return catch to dismiss David Byas. Then he had Ashley Metcalfe, attempting a late cut, caught behind, his three wickets coming in the space of 22 balls at a cost of only four runs as Yorkshire slipped from 93 for nought to 109 for three.

Moxon went on to complete his third century of the season from 182 balls with 15 fours, passing 1,000 first-class runs for the season in the process, a milestone also reached by his partner, the wicketkeeper Richard Blakey. They resume this morning with Yorkshire 52 runs ahead.

Warwickshire owed a good chunk of their first innings advantage to Welch, a 22-year-old all-rounder from County Durham who has been on the Edgbaston staff since 1989 but has had to wait until this season for his first-class debut.

Dermot Reeve's continuing injury problems have opened the way for him. His 60 yesterday represented his third half- century in consecutive games, following bowling figures of four for 74 in the first innings, his best so far.

The latest fitness bulletin on Lara, who remained on the field so briefly after his limping arrival that one wondered why he had bothered, is that he is now suffering problems in both knees.