Cricket: Smith ups the pace

Warwickshire 233-8 Yorkshire 14-0

The weather spoiled what was building up into a fascinating evening's cricket yesterday. Warwickshire's captain, Andy Moles, may have briefly considered bowling first on a pitch with a green tinge, but it was a fine morning and, with a bad forecast for later, he sensibly chose to bat.

On a pitch which allowed some movement and had a suspect bounce, batting was never easy and Warwickshire were indebted to a typically compelling innings at the start by Neil Smith, whose 57 included nine fours and took only 61 balls.

He was helped by four poor overs from Chris Silverwood, who bowled short and wide and was gleefully dispatched to the square boundary by Smith. When, in compensation, he over-pitched, he was on-driven and later Smith drove both Peter Hartley and Craig White through the covers.

By then, Moles's poor trot had continued when, without any real footwork, he pushed at Darren Gough and edged the ball into his stumps, and Dougie Brown had played White's first ball straight to short midwicket.

There were a few good strokes from David Hemp including a pull for six off Hartley. At 94, Smith carved White to deep cover and two runs later Hemp was yorked in Michael Vaughan's first over of off-spin. After that, Dominic Ostler, Trevor Penney and Graeme Welch all made useful contributions to a total which may prove to be big enough.

Rain lengthened the interval and in the third over of the Yorkshire innings there was another break. In the final spell of three overs in ever- worsening light Yorkshire will have been grateful not to lose a wicket, although they still have plenty to do.

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