Cricket: Humiliation for sorry Yorkshire

Leicester Yorkshire 52 Leicestershire 170-6
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The Independent Online
YORKSHIRE WERE bowled out before lunch here yesterday for 52. It was the lowest championship total of the season and Yorkshire's most embarrassing experience with the bat since they were dismissed for 43 by Surrey at The Oval in 1973.

They won the toss, just in case you were wondering; but there was no way back after James Ormond had dismantled their top order by taking four wickets for one run in 16 deliveries. The loss of three batsmen of the calibre of Greg Blewett, David Byas and Anthony McGrath in one over would have been enough to undermine any side.

A relaid pitch which had not been used for five seasons would quickly and properly have been exonerated at any post-innings inquest by Yorkshire. Instead they were undone by the relentless accuracy of Leicestershire's attack, which swung the ball productively from the obligatory full length.

In 28.3 overs they offered scarcely a half volley or a long hop. Ormond also found he could often swing the ball disconcertingly late. At the other end Michael Kasprowicz bowled no less well, producing one searching delivery after another on an immaculate off-stump line.

All this kept the pressure on in a way that Yorkshire's own bowlers were unable to match later. Far from seeing off the new ball, Yorkshire were undone by a series of misjudgements or good deliveries, such as the ones which accounted for McGrath and Richard Harden.

Amid all this Blewett, whose cricketing education will have been broadened by his experiences of a wet English summer, hung on for 12 overs without exactly locating the middle of the bat. In 17 innings he has passed 50 only once and his latest lbw dismissal suggests he is still coming to terms with batting against the moving ball. When at last Vince Wells, the acting captain, was able to prise the ball away from his opening bowlers, David Millns also moved it around at a healthy pace and mopped up with three for one in nine balls. His victims included Chris Silverwood, who had a bit of a scramble to put his pads on after his drive from Edgbaston.

Silverwood, for one, looked to be trying a shade too hard when Yorkshire bowled. They were guilty of offering too much shortness and width and the downfall of Wells, padding up, and Ben Smith, slashing hard into third man's hands, owed everything to their own errors of judgement. The loss of 15 wickets in the day meant the obligatory reporting of the pitch by the umpires, but their verdict will undoubtedly be one of "misadventure" rather than "malice aforethought".

At the heart of Leicestershire's reply was a characteristic innings by Darren Maddy, who has not always been in the best of touch this season. Now, however, playing with the patience and straightness the conditions required, he held things together, although Silverwood thought he had him caught behind off an inside edge when he had made only eight. Maddy shrugged off that episode, stood his ground and umpire Graham Burgess agreed with him.

Maddy went past his half century from 114 balls with seven boundaries, while Chris Lewis, before he played on, unveiled some exotic strokes at the other end. More dogged support came from the bowlers, Millns and Kasprowicz, who both got in line well in the face of a late and testing spell by Silverwood.