Lancashire the losers with Symonds close to Australian call-up

Yorkshire 417 & 323-6 Lancashire 537 Match drawn
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The Independent Online

Symonds is the most successful Australian batsman in England, with three centuries in the last three championship matches. He is also a superb fielder and an accomplished bowler, capable of medium-pace seam and off-spin.

Symonds, part of Australia's one-day squad, has turbo-charged Lancashire's promotion drive, but may be lost to them in the vital last month. He gave them their one glimpse of victory in sunny Manchester when, in trapping Phil Jaques leg before, he reduced Yorkshire to 172 for 3. They were only 53 ahead with a minimum of 52 overs remaining. One run later James Anderson had Michael Lumb caught behind.

Alas, this pitch was far too good to force a victory and Anthony McGrath and Craig White applied iron concentration, in the tradition of this fixture, all through the afternoon. It made a draw, each promotion contender taking 11 points, a formality.

After tea, McGrath was tempted into a swing only to be plucked out of mid-air at square leg, but all other delicacies were left untouched by White in a puritanical devotion to the cause that lasted until the declaration could be effected at 5.20pm, much to the relief, one imagines, of Sky's viewers. That will teach them to televise a Roses match.

The two counties have the same problem - forcing wins at home. The squares here and at Headingley may win glowing tributes from the ECB's pitch inspectors but they gain less favourable comments from bowlers. This square has been "plasticised", which the Lancashire trundlers probably translate as "plasticined".

Yorkshire were helped by some general last-day sloppiness, as illustrated by Lancashire's conceded extras - 55. Gary Keedy's first over of the day went for 17 runs, including eight byes.

Yorkshire needed some relief having heard in mid-afternoon that Ian Harvey and Chris Silverwood were not fit to play in today's Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy semi-final at Southampton.

Lancashire's scorer Alan West delighted the statisticians - this is the first Roses match in which both captains have scored centuries, White scoring 176 undefeated runs in the match.

Surrey's First Division survival hopes were damaged yesterday when rain forced the match at The Oval against Gloucestershire, who were 181 runs ahead with four second-innings wickets standing, to be abandoned as a draw.