County Cricket: Ryan Sidebottom’s seven wickets put Yorkshire back in hunt

Yorkshire 253 & 29-1 v Middlesex 232

Ryan Sidebottom finished with 7 for 44, his best figures for three years, as Yorkshire grabbed a narrow first-innings lead on a steamy day of fluctuating ascendancy at North Marine Road on Sunday.

Middlesex were rescued from a calamitous start in reply to Yorkshire’s 253 as John Simpson and Dawid Malan combined in a partnership of 168 for the fifth wicket.  But they were upstaged in the end by a superb performance from the 36-year-old Sidebottom, who bowled himself almost literally to the point of exhaustion in helping his side to a first-innings lead of 21 that could be vital in their attempt to regain first place in the Championship table.

Yorkshire lost their last seven wickets for 49 runs in a collapse that began as the ball swung prodigiously on the first evening and continued when Middlesex took the new ball yesterday morning. After that Middlesex found themselves in severe disarray at 11 for 4 as former England bowler Sidebottom delivered the first instalment in a masterclass of left-arm swing bowling.

His dismissals of Chris Rogers and Eoin Morgan, both caught behind without scoring, came from classic Sidebottom deliveries, moving away late to take the edge.

Jonny Bairstow missed a chance to dismiss Malan, spilling a catch off Jack Brooks when the batsman had made only seven, and he was made to pay dearly as the fifth wicket pair began to settle to their work and wickets became harder to come by.

Simpson made 110, an innings in which his first boundary came off an inside edge but which contained 16 more fours and a six driven down the ground off the leg-spinner Adil Rashid. The partnership served only to emphasise the value of Adam Lyth’s 117 on Saturday.

But after tea, with the ball beginning to swing again as the temperature rose, Sidebottom delivered a second devastating spell, one that began with Malan caught at second slip by Lyth for 78. He took four wickets in the space of 30 balls, denied the chance of an eighth wicket and a career best only because, in the words of director of cricket Martyn Moxon, he was “shot”.

County round-up

Batsman of the day

Sam Northeast missed out on back-to-back centuries on his return to the Kent side when he was leg before to part-time bowler Jason Roy, but his 91 still helped Kent to score 351 for 7 on day one against Surrey at Guildford, where Kent’s captain, Rob Key, was taken to hospital after being hit in the groin by Matt Dunn but returned to complete his innings later.

Bowler of the day

Tony Palladino, the Derbyshire seamer, took three wickets in his first 34 balls while conceding only one run as Glamorgan were reduced to 13 for 3 on the opening morning at the County Ground in Derby. The Welsh side eventually managed 138 all out, with 22-year-old Alex Hughes taking a career-best 4 for 46.

Extras

Graeme Smith, the former South Africa captain, whose first two seasons as Surrey captain have been wrecked by injury, will not return to The Kia Oval in 2015 on medical advice. The 33-year-old opening batsman, who had to go home after only three first-class matches in 2013 because of an ankle injury, has not played since May this year after suffering a fractured right knee.

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