Moxon takes long-term view

If the County Championship has become a one-horse race, no one has told Yorkshire about it. They squeezed a little more out of what was a dead match here yesterday in a determined bid to garner a couple more points and remain tucked inbehind the leaders Surrey.

If the County Championship has become a one-horse race, no one has told Yorkshire about it. They squeezed a little more out of what was a dead match here yesterday in a determined bid to garner a couple more points and remain tucked inbehind the leaders Surrey.

Darren Lehmann led the way with a belligerent hundred, his third of the season, 10th for Yorkshire, second against Leic-estershire and the 47th of his career. By the time he fell, he had helped Yorkshire to three vital batting bonus points, underlining the coach Martyn Moxon's attitude to the title chase.

"It is by no means all over," said the former England opener. "The Surrey game at Scarborough at the end of the month is a big match, a match we must win. But we beat Surrey two years ago at Headingley and we would hope to do the same this time." Battle as they might, they have not been helped by the weather. "We had a last day wash-out against Lancashire, and against Somerset on a good batting wicket there just was not the time to get a finish after a rain-affected first day," said Moxon

That, plus England call-ups and injuries, have had a hand in frustrating the White Rose county's push for the title. But Moxon has no complaints: "You just have to get on with it," was his stoical reaction. International calls are a source of immense pride and a chance to blood youngsters who struggle to gain experience otherwise. "We need to build up a squad of quality players with experience of first-class cricket," said Moxon. "We need to have a minimum of 20 if we are to cope with Test calls and injuries."

Their England heroes, Darren Gough, Michael Vaughan and Craig White, miss Yorkshire's last three games, starting with Surrey, though they were given leave to play in the National League today. Yester-day the quality came in the shape of the Australian left-hander Lehmann, whose lofted drive off the leg-spinner Anil Kumble earned Yorkshire their second batting bonus point, ensuring they remained in second above Lancashire in the table.

Lehmann began the day on 51, the 10th time this season he has passed 50 in the Championship, and he led the salvage operation aggressively, with able assistance from Ian Fisher, who tried to carry on the good work after his dismissal. The South Australian captain drove low and hard straight back to Jon Dakin who clung on to a fine catch. Chris Silverwood hit a couple of sixes before presenting Leicestershire with a third bowling point, the 11 they gained here ensuring they stayed in fourth place.

Sadly, Fisher was the last man out when Yorkshire were within a tantalising 10 runs of a fourth batting point. But even so, it was a successful salvage job, the 10 points here leaving them 18 points adrift and the final furlongs approaching.

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