Nottinghamshire 213 & 350 Yorkshire 161 & 107-4: Ealham forces Yorkshire to question their batting ability

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The Independent Online

Yorkshire must be wondering just what it is they have done to incur the displeasure of cricket's gods. A day that had begun badly with the loss of a key player, ended disastrously with the loss of a fistful of wickets.

Mark Ealham did the damage, leaving Yorkshire's faces as long as the evening shadows with a devastating 14-ball spell in which he picked up three wickets without conceding a run. Since they had already lost the opener Joe Sayers in the third over of their second innings it rendered their victory target of 403 runs a very distant prospect.

That target looks even more remote given that only one other side this season has passed 400 on this ground, in the previous Championship match here Surrey mustered an identical 403 in their first innings. By the close they were still 296 runs away from victory.

Given the start they had Yorkshire must have suspected it was not going to be their day. Play was three balls old when Rana Naved pulled up and left the field with a shoulder injury.

The Pakistani had dislocated the same shoulder, the right one, late last season when playing for Sussex against Durham at Riverside and had to undergo surgery during the winter. There were fears that he had somehow aggravated that injury yesterday.

Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire's director of cricket, said: "He can hardly move it at the moment, but we don't think it's connected with what he had before.

"It is more of a nerve problem, we think, and we're hoping he's going to be okay. He had been feeling it for a couple of days, but thought he was okay this morning, and in the warm-up, then it just came back as soon as he started to bowl."

It was a particularly cruel blow for Yorkshire who have struggled to inject some swing into their attack and as Moxon explained: "We were hoping Rana might be the man this morning and reverse swing the old ball." As it happened that ball did not swing for any Yorkshire bowler.

But there have been problems with the balls throughout this match, and when they have still been fairly new. In Nottinghamshire's first innings the new ball had to be replaced when it was six overs old, and in their second innings one had to be changed when it was a mere three overs old. A third instance came early in the Yorkshire innings when the ball had to be changed after 8.3 overs.

It did not bother the home batsmen, three more of whom scored half-centuries, joining Bilal Shafayat who had done so the day before. Samit Patel, Graeme Swann and Mark Wagh all passed fifty. In Wagh's case it was the 11th time he had reached the mark without going on to three figures, a record that stretches back to last August.