Lancashire 417-9dec Yorkshire 265 & 177-1: Sayers' patience saves Yorkshire from Roses loss
Saturday 20 May 2006
An hour's delay to the start of the final day increased the total losses inflicted on this match to 133 overs, but when Yorkshire fell three short of avoiding the follow-on Lancashire still sensed they could force a victory.
Jason Gillespie's angry swish of the bat as a drive edged to second slip ended a stubborn last-wicket stand suggested his thoughts were on similar lines, but his defiant 46 may have been the innings of the match in any event. He and Deon Kruis, in a partnership of 76, had offered some sort of lead in how not to sell yourself cheaply, after which Yorkshire's second innings survived for 59 overs for the loss of only one wicket, saving the draw.
Anthony McGrath, the only success for Yorkshire first time round, impressed again, taking his first-class aggregate for the season past 500 runs, but there was also satisfaction for Joe Sayers, the 22-year-old opener whose place was beginning to look under threat. The Oxford Blue and former England Under-19 captain had managed only 43 Championship runs in six innings going into this match yet as the possessor of a degree in physics he evidently has the patience to apply himself to a task. In the first innings he deflected a ball from Kyle Hogg on to his stumps, but yesterday there was no such error.
Matthew Wood had offered some encouragement to Lancashire when an airy shot outside off stump gave Luke Sutton a straightforward catch, but Sayers was seldom tempted into liberties, four and a half hours of vigilance rewarding him with an unbeaten 75, containing 11 fours and provoking some dummy-spitting frustration from Dominic Cork.
This is not exactly a rare occurrence but it is amusing none the less, the excitable former England all-rounder's attempt to distract the young batsman with a weaving run-up prompting Sayers to step away from the stumps in contempt, to which Cork's reaction was predictable.
His choice of words at the end of his next follow-through required lip-readers of a sensitive nature to turn away.
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