Cricket: Ratcliffe's century leaves Yorkshire in wake

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Warwickshire 245; Yorkshire 69-5

JASON RATCLIFFE is not regarded as a one-day player at Edgbaston, yet, in his fifth innings of the season, he scored a career-best 105, for the most part in poor light on a suspect pitch, to keep Warwickshire alive in this NatWest Trophy quarter-final here.

Ratcliffe's batting, and the re- forged partnership of Allan Donald and Gladstone Small, look to have effectively ended Yorkshire's season before August. They require another 177 from 31 overs this morning after David Byas was run out in yesterday's last over.

Martyn Moxon wanted to play on the Test pitch; Dermot Reeve preferred one newly cut and furthermore chose to bat first, two decisions he may have regretted when the scoreboard read 31 for 3 in 12 overs.

Five hours later, when Yorkshire were 31 for 3 after 15 overs, his smile was wider than the departing Richie Richardson's as Yorkshire had to face Donald at dusk.

There were two surprises when play started under low cloud at 1.10. The new pitch responded erratically at one end while the outfield, after rain, was remarkably quick.

Not that Warwickshire were given time to philosophise: Darren Gough's first ball, in the second over, rose sharply, Andy Moles edging; Dominic Ostler, cutting, saw gully swoop. Warwickshire then lost a third wicket when Craig White ran out Paul Smith.

Ratcliffe, meanwhile, always looked in command. Partnered by Reeve, the best improviser since the young Derek Randall, rehabilitation progressed to conflagration, the pair adding 79 in the next 21 overs.

The fourth wicket had added 136 in 33 overs, a NatWest best against the Tykes, when Reeve top-edged a nasty high catch to long leg and Ratcliffe was bowled three overs later before the tail were cut down after tea.

Moxon and Paul Grayson then had to try to fend off Donald and Small. Grayson had his stumps wrecked, Moxon was caught at short leg and Richardson, like Ostler before him, underestimated gully.

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