McGrath hits double ton to put Yorkshire in control

Yorkshire 600-8dec Warwickshire 81-1
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The Independent Online

Back in the mid-1990s, Yorkshire supporters would speak of Anthony McGrath in much the same way as they had enthused over Michael Vaughan's early progress. His breakthrough in 1995, as a 19-year-old, was hailed by Wisden as "the development of a player of obvious class" despite his having strode out alongside Vaughan on his first-class debut only to return to the pavilion without bothering the scorers.

Fast-tracked into the England A side, for whom he made a hundred on his second appearance, McGrath finished one run short of 1,000 in 1996, his future seemingly as bright as that of his 21-year-old team-mate.

Somehow, though he won four Test caps in 2003, it never quite worked out. Then again, even though he is 33 now, perhaps it is not too late for a second coming. Captain of Yorkshire for the second time in his career, McGrath is offering evidence that the talent identified 14 years ago has not left him.

His first two matches this season have brought him as many first-class hundreds as the whole of last summer and yesterday's was a special one, the first double of his career. He had advanced to 211 before, with unsurprising weariness, he chopped on to Neil Carter as Warwickshire's persevering left-arm seamer finished with 4-129.

Alongside Joe Sayers, who made 173 over almost 10 hours at the crease, McGrath put down the bedrock of Yorkshire's largest total for three seasons, setting Warwickshire the daunting requirement of reaching 451 merely to avoid the follow-on.

McGrath completed a 142-ball half-century that reflected responsible diligence but then kicked on more typically. His second 50 runs came in 51 balls, the third 49 and the fourth only marginally slower in 68. Two of his three sixes came off the New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel.

Warwickshire could not manage even one bowling bonus point, although five catching chances missed – three by wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose – did not help. Asked to face 18 overs at the close after Yorkshire declared at 600-8, they lost Tony Frost quickly but suffered no more setbacks. Ian Bell, disappointed not to be at Lord's, will resume today on 33 not out.