Imperious Hussey proves Yorkshire's master again

Yorkshire 178 Nottinghamshire 497-6
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The Independent Online

David Hussey indulged his taste for Yorkshire bowling attacks with gusto as Nottinghamshire turned the screw against the Championship leaders here, ensuring that top place changes hands irrespective of a poor weather forecast for the latter part of the match.

The Australian's imperious unbeaten 222, his third double-hundred for the county and the highest individual score for Nottinghamshire against Yorkshire, extended his record against the county in six seasons as an overseas player in England to 803 runs at an average of 133.83.

Remarkably, this was his fourth century in his last five matches against Yorkshire, three of which have been scored at Headingley, the other at Scarborough. At this rate, he will be barred from crossing the county border in future.

The upshot of it all is that, despite the loss of yesterday's morning session to rain, Nottinghamshire have a lead of 319 to go with maximum batting points and will be looking to make a statement of intent by inflicting an innings defeat on their title rivals, who are beginning to show signs of fraying at the edges.

If anything was going to undermine their challenge, it was the lack of experience in their seam attack and it showed yesterday. For all his potential, Ajmal Shahzad had played in only 27 first-class matches going into this one, which is still more than Steve Patterson (24) and Oliver Hannon-Dalby (13).

Shahzad struggled for control and lacked zip as he conceded 95 in 19 overs and will hope that James Whitaker, the England selector in attendance, made allowance for his recent injury. Yorkshire, who left out the erratic Tino Best to accommodate a second spinner in David Wainwright, badly missed Tim Bresnan's know-how.

Mistakes in the field did not help, the costliest of which saw Hussey let off the hook on 93 when Wainwright, collecting Anthony McGrath's throw from mid-wicket, missed a chance to run him out at the bowler's end. A dropped catch by Shahzad when Samit Patel was on 76 mattered less, given the batsman's departure to a brilliant one-handed catch at slip on 96 as he tried to carve Adil Rashid through the covers.

Hussey made the most of his escape. Anything remotely short was despatched with ruthless efficiency by the Australian, who is pigeon-holed as a one-day specialist according to his international record but who has amassed more than 11,000 runs in first-class cricket at an average of more than 71.

Supplemented by Chris Read's 42 and a fiesty unbeaten 57 off 65 balls from Paul Franks, Nottinghamshire closed on 497 for 6, the highest total against Yorkshire in the county's history.

Yorkshire's mood was not made any better by the news that Azeem Rafiq, the off-spinner they hold in such high regard, has been banned for a month as a result of his outburst against England Under-19 team manager John Abrahams on Twitter.

Rafiq pleaded guilty to charges of making a personal attack in a public statement and bringing the game into disrepute by doing so. Already stripped of the Under-19 captaincy, Rafiq is suspended from all cricket under ECB jurisdiction for one month from 26 July. He was ordered him to pay £500 in costs.

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