County Championship round-up: Lyth steers Yorkshire back to the summit

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The Independent Online

Chastened perhaps by last week's backfiring gamble at Taunton, when Somerset chased down Jacques Rudolph's target of 362 runs from 68 overs, Yorkshire took no such chances with Hampshire's batsmen at the Rose Bowl, knowing that a draw would take them back to the top of the First Division.

With Andrew Gale back at the helm after his secondment to England Lions, Yorkshire took a lead of 216 into the last day, with nine wickets in hand. The loss of more than an hour to rain at the start did not help, but it was the addition of only 28 runs in 12 overs before lunch that sounded the death knell for the match as a contest.

Yorkshire ploughed on through the afternoon and when the declaration came, eight overs after tea, Yorkshire had built a lead of 356 with 22 overs left. The satisfaction drawn from the match might have been greater had Adam Lyth, who is in superlative form, not fallen two runs short of a second hundred in the match, denied by a brilliant slip catch by Neil McKenzie.

Lyth's aggregate for the season is 853 at an average of 71.08, which gives him an outside chance of completing 1,000 runs in May in the Roses match, which starts at Headingley tomorrow.

In the Second Division, Gloucestershire celebrated their fourth victory of the season after Derbyshire collapsed on the final day at the County Ground. Derbyshire began on five without loss chasing 301 but were bundled out for 166 to suffer a 134-run defeat. The veteran seamer Jon Lewis did the bulk of the damage, returning figures of 4 for 25, after Steve Kirby's opening burst had helped reduce them to 15-4.

The Anguilla-born teenage batsman Chesney Hughes impressed again amid the carnage, adding 75 to add to his first-innings century. Hughes was eventually ninth out, playing across a full length ball from Lewis, who wrapped up victory by bowling Atif Sheikh as Gloucestershire moved to third in the table with their fourth win of the season.

Former England batsman Mark Ramprakash struck an unbeaten 79 to guide Surrey to a seven-wicket win over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road, their first victory in 17 Championship matches.

Former South Africa paceman Andre Nel had earlier taken four for 68 as Northamptonshire were bowled out for 229, giving Surrey a target of 241. Surrey's captain, Rory Hamilton-Brown, then hammered an explosive 45 off 42 balls as the visitors comfortably made that total with 10 overs to spare.

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