Dogged Clarke checks Yorkshire's victory bid

Yorkshire 425 Warwickshire 253 & 193-3
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The Independent Online

Buoyed by news of defeat for Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire will be anxious to press home their advantage here today as excitement at the prospect of only a second County Championship in 43 years gathers pace.

It may be a little early to be letting imaginations run off in that direction. Nottinghamshire still have eight matches to play compared with Yorkshire's six. But so far, so good: a win here will put Yorkshire 21 points clear. What is more, the title rivals still have to meet – twice, at Headingley in August, and at Trent Bridge in the penultimate round in September.

They ought not to mess up this chance, although it is possible. Warwickshire, following on, lead by 21 runs, three wickets down, although they have discovered a resilience that has not often underpinned their performances with the bat recently.

Rikki Clarke, who was unbeaten on 46 batting at No 7 when Warwickshire were dismissed for 253 in the morning, earning a rare second batting point, in their first innings, has come in at four this time and has done even better.

Dropped twice earlier in the day, the all-rounder has not offered a chance in the second innings thus far. He and Ateeq Javid, the England Under-19 batsman, have put on 64 since Jim Troughton retired hurt at 129 for 3, the youngster coping well with Tino Best's attempts – verbal as well as physical – to intimidate him.

Troughton will bat again, provided a nasty swelling above his left eye subsides enough to allow him to pull on his helmet. He left the field with a genuine shiner after a short ball from Best jammed up into his grill.

Warwickshire had begun the day on 221 for 7 in reply to Yorkshire's 425 before Steve Patterson, steady and reliable, took their last three wickets. He had Neil Carter caught by Best at mid-off and Imran Tahir brilliantly, one-handed, by Richard Pyrah at backward point, before a full delivery into the pads of Boyd Rankin gave him figures of 4 for 57. Adil Rashid, who ended the first innings with 4 for 71, has taken all three second-innings wickets. Darren Maddy played all around a googly, then Ant Botha, caught behind, and captain Ian Westwood, a dismayed looking lbw victim, fell in consecutive overs from the leg spinner.

Troughton staggered off soon afterwards but Warwickshire did not lose another wicket between tea and a finish hastened 10 overs early by rain.