Liam Plunkett denies Kevin Pietersen another knock
Yorkshire 433-9 dec & 254 Surrey 353-7dec & 4-0
Monday 24 June 2013
After Kevin Pietersen's extraordinary pyrotechnics on Sunday, any innings by almost any batsman you could think of would have seemed tame by comparison. With respect to Liam Plunkett, his two-and-a-half-hour 68 was never going to set anyone's pulse racing in any circumstances. Yet it was the innings of the day so far as Yorkshire were concerned.
Along with the gritty support of Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Patterson, two bowlers carrying injuries, it made sure the prospect of Pietersen taking them apart for the second time in 24 hours did not materialise. The draw takes Yorkshire 13 points ahead of Sussex in the First Division table and leaves Surrey still without a win.
Andrew Gale insisted that it was the injuries to his bowlers rather than any threat posed by Pietersen that persuaded Yorkshire to put safety first rather than dangle any kind of bait for Surrey to chase.
"I did think about [the Pietersen threat] when I came into the ground," Gale said. "He can take a game away from you in an hour. It was an amazing knock, pure genius – the best I've seen live on a cricket field.
"Our lads did not bowl badly but it didn't matter where we put the field, he was going to hit it where there weren't fielders. When you've got a guy who can hit sixes from the crease, what can you do?
"But the way myself and Jason [Gillespie] go about our cricket, we like to be attacking. Unfortunately, when I got here, Ryan had a stiff back, which meant we were down to two seamers and a spinner, so it would have been difficult to bowl them out."
In the event, Yorkshire needed eventually to guard against slipping to an unexpected defeat as Gary Keedy, the Wakefield-born left-arm spinner who left Lancashire for The Oval during the winter, produced his first significant bowl in a Surrey shirt, finishing with 7 for 99, his best figures for three years.
At 182 for 7, after Adil Rashid had jabbed a ball from Keedy into the ground only for it to roll on to his stumps, and Andy Hodd had been leg before to Tim Linley, Yorkshire's lead was only 262 and the possibility of Pietersen leading a seven-an-over run chase still loomed if the last three wickets had gone quickly.
So some dogged defending was required and Patterson, batting despite a broken toe, deserved credit in particular for standing his ground for more than an hour as Plunkett compiled his second half-century of the match.
Not that Pietersen was betraying a great deal of appetite for a further flexing of his batting muscles. Enjoying some banter with the crowd at fine leg he was heard at one point (jokingly) to offer to refund their gate money if they would let him go home.
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