De Bruyn at home with the surreal

Yorkshire 277 & 248 Somerset 230 & 296-6
Click to follow
The Independent Online

The County Championship's reputation as the neglected relative in summer sport's extended family is not helped by afternoons such as this witnessed yesterday, when Zander de Bruyn's unbeaten 70 enabled Somerset to inflict a first defeat of the season on Yorkshire. It was a sterling effort from the South African, particularly given that Somerset, chasing 296 to win, had looked vulnerable at 189 for 4 at lunch, Yorkshire having claimed the key wickets of Marcus Trescothick, Justin Langer and James Hildreth in the morning session.

Certainly, it was worthy of polite applause from the Yorkshire members who had not already decided to make their way home for tea, which was why the enormous cheers ringing around the ground were all the more surreal.

Those familiar with the geography of Headingley will have twigged where the noise was coming from. Yorkshire share their home with Leeds Rhinos, the cricket field separated from the rugby league pitch by a grandstand, possibly unique, that has seats facing both arenas. The two clubs hosted simultaneous fixtures yesterday. No prizes for guessing which one attracted a 15,000 crowd. As spectators in rugby tops disgorged on to the cricket side at half-time, amid the usual cacophony of loud music and shouted public address announcements, it was probably just as well that the unconsidered cricket spectators had dispersed.

Happily, nothing had distracted the players in what turned out to be an intriguing last day on the cricket field, but one which underlined the current inadequacies of Yorkshire's top-order batting, whose collapse to 92 for 5 on Saturday against a thin attack – their red faces spared by 19-year-old Jonathan Bairstow's debut unbeaten 82 – was the real reason Somerset were not left with a stiffer target.

It was a good match for Bairstow, son of the former Yorkshire wicketkeeper, David. Evidently no mean gloveman himself, the teenager took over behind the stumps when Gerard Brophy suffered a hand injury and held four catches. Not since his late father retired, in 1990, has "caught Bairstow" been an entry on a Yorkshire senior scorecard.

The first two raised Yorkshire's hopes. Matthew Hoggard, brimming with intent after his five first-innings wickets, had shared the opening overs with Ajmal Shahzad, but pace made little impression as Trescothick and Langer sought to build on a partnership worth 52 overnight.

It was the introduction of David Wainwright, the left-arm spinner, that brought a breakthrough. Trescothick, sweeping, lobbed up a catch, freakishly brushing a glove after ballooning off a pad, eagerly pouched by Bairstow. Hildreth chipped to mid-on to give Wainwright a second wicket. Just before lunch, Langer pushed at a ball from Rana Naved-ul-Hasan but the ball moved, nicked the edge and Bairstow struck again.

But De Bruyn, with help from Craig Kieswetter and Peter Trego, imposed himself impressively after lunch, and though Bairstow efficiently assisted Tim Bresnan and Shahzad in claiming two more wickets, the pitch was playing easily and there were not enough runs for Yorkshire to defend.

Comments