Cricket: Johnson in control

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The Independent Online
Nottinghamshire 316 and 259

Yorkshire 240

TO LOSE one bowler through injury may be considered unfortunate. To lose another in the same match is, well, very unfortunate. That is the situation in which Nottinghamshire found themselves yesterday as their batsmen were put under pressure to run up a lead that even an under-10 third XI would struggle to lose.

Deprived of the off-spinner Mike Field-Buss, whose arm was broken by Darren Gough on Thursday, and Chris Cairns, whose twisted ankle makes him doubtful for bowling, Nottinghamshire did not need a clairvoyant to tell them that a large second-innings score was vital.

If their task was made easier by the cushion of a 76-run lead, it became considerably more difficult with the early loss of Mark Saxelby and Bruce French who were dispatched by Peter Hartley in the same over, leaving the score in effect standing at 20 for 4.

Given that Paul Johnson did not get where he is today by playing with cautious vigilance and that Wayne Dessaur was playing in only his second Championship game, the fourth-wicket partnership of 140 between these two was all the more impressive. Johnson showed admirable restraint in reaching his century but still managed 16 ferocious boundaries.

As Cairns lifted Nottinghamshire's overall lead to 335 with some hard hitting it became depressingly clear to Yorkshire that his ankle may not be as twisted as they would like.