Byas vigil shows way

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The Independent Online

Somerset 182 & 12-2Yorkshire 400

Somerset 182 & 12-2Yorkshire 400

Later today Yorkshire will be hoping to make a severe dent in Surrey's lead at the top of the County Championship FirstDivision. After a timid start, reflecting recent form, confidence surged back here yesterday and in the evening Somerset had to survive 14 fast and hostile overs, especially from the batting hero, Chris Silverwood, losing their openers when the damage might have been worse.

Yorkshire needed 70 minutes to overcome the overnight deficit of 38 on a pitch that was still green but easy-paced, surrounded by a fast outfield. There were reasons: Darren Lehmann leads the race to a 1,000 runs thanks to a run of seven explosive fifties, but only two of which he has turned into hundreds.

His captain, David Byas, is celebrating his benefit season in wretched form and here, on his home club pitch, leading a team apparently in a nose dive, his set jaw said it all.

Lehmann's 50 took 107 balls, Byas's 173. Somerset did the right thing and bowled length and line, hoping the odd ball might seam. They even introduced the left-arm spinner, Ian Blackwell, just before lunch, his spell of four maidens being ended abruptly by Lehmann who suddenly savaged him for two fours and a six in four balls, a fusillade that woke up another good crowd on another sparkling afternoon.

Blackwell had his revenge two overs later when Lehmann, aiming to lift him for six, chose a ball a trifle wide and skied to mid-off. Yorkshire's lead then was only 61 and they also knew that Ryan Sidebottom was going to need a runner. Byas and Richard Blakey inched along, scoring 52 in the next 25 overs before Byas's vigil was eventually broken, after a tenacious 84, by the umpire's finger.

The dressing room clearly felt that the captain had done the hard part. Gary Fellows frisked to 22, even the monolithic Blakey flashed a couple of handsome cover drives before being bowled. By then three batting points were safe and a fourth was in sight. So successful was Silverwood, swinging and flailing (three sixes, five fours) with assorted assistance, in savaging a tiring attack that a fifth was also taken, 52 coming off 40 balls for Yorkshire's first maximum since May. It was exhilarating to all but Somerset, who could take encouragement from 19-year-old Peter Trego's achievement with bat and ball.