Cricket: Maddy's perfect display

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YORKSHIRE SPENT most of the day here yesterday on the back foot in every sense of the term. Much of their bowling continued to be unprepossessing as Darren Maddy became the 18th batsman in Leicestershire's history to carry his bat through a completed innings with a chanceless, unbeaten 158.

The sight of Maddy playing with much aplomb and great patience and selectivity for some six and a half hours should have persuaded Yorkshire that even with a first-innings deficit of 245, a timely exhibition of some of their traditional grit and application was capable of getting them out of trouble.

But after a deceptively prosperous start they again encountered James Ormond who, after a barren spell with the new ball, returned from the other end with an older one to pluck out Michael Vaughan, David Byas and Anthony McGrath at a cost of five runs in four overs.

It was a particularly explosive spell and, in a way, even more remarkable than Ormond's burst of four wickets for one run in the first innings with the new ball. Now the ball was older and Yorkshire, if not cruising, suggested they could lay the foundations of a decent fightback.

Greg Blewett, caught nudging a ball from Michael Kasprowicz off his hip, had been their only casualty, though Byas had scored only a single when he was dropped at slip by David Millns off the same bowler, a chance that was straightforward as slip catchers go.

Encouraged, Byas and Vaughan started to venture a few strokes off the front foot. All was well until Ormond returned and in his first over managed to produce from nowhere a ball which bounced and Vaughan could only glove it to the wicket-keeper and walk off shaking his head in a mixture of puzzlement and appreciation.

Four overs later Byas was caught on the crease by a rapid inswinging yorker and was palpably lbw. In Ormond's next over Matthew Wood could make nothing of an equally impressive yorker which bowled him.

Leicestershire had enjoyed a stroke of fortune when Anthony McGrath, who had perished first ball in the first innings, shaped to force a shortish ball from Matthew Brimson off the back foot and thus get off the mark but he managed only to drag it on.

All this left Yorkshire at 75 for 5, but Leicestershire's elation was tempered when Ormond broke down with a side strain and had to go off; Kasprowicz completed it for him as Richard Harden and Craig White attempted to rebuild the innings.

Maddy had earlier joined such illustrious Leicestershire names as Les Berry, Maurice Hallam, Nigel Briers and Willie Watson in taking out his bat. We all know Maddy has enviable class and technique; now, in conditions where no other batsman had reached 50, this innings, spanning 277 balls and containing 19 fours, showed he is also not short of self-discipline and an equable temperament.

n Muttiah Muralitharan continued his one-man Lancashire rescue mission yesterday with six more wickets for 61 runs to beat Essex at Old Trafford. The Sri Lankan spinner has taken 37 wickets in his three County matches, and yesterday's haul ensured that Essex, who started the day on 33 for 0, were all out for 182 - giving Lancashire victory by 119 runs.