County round-up: Yorkshire drop into relegation zone after draw

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The Independent Online

A century from captain Andrew Gale in an unbroken 120-run, 37-over partnership with Gary Ballance revealed the backbone some feared had deserted Yorkshire's batting lately but the credit due for salvaging a draw against Durham will not quieten the alarm bells at Headingley.

Worcestershire's second straight win leaves Yorkshire next to bottom of the First Division, confirmation that Gale's team are in a relegation struggle. Only Hampshire sit below them after suffering a nine-wicket defeat at New Road, where the home side, shortly to be reinforced by Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, are beginning to believe.

Paul Horton was out for 99 as some fine medium-pace bowling from all-rounder Paul Franks kept Nottinghamshire's match against Lancashire in the balance at Trent Bridge, where defeat would surely put the defending champions out of the reckoning for this year's title.

Northamptonshire stay as Second Division leaders by firing Leicestershire out for 48 at Grace Road, the home side's lowest all-out total since 1968. Middlesex go second after completing a nine-wicket win over Kent and escaping a points deduction as a pitch panel deemed that the pitch used at Lord's was no worse than "below average".

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