Vaughan cut short in effort to impress

Durham 362 Yorkshire 264-6
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The Independent Online

It is reasonable to assume that Nick Cook is not Michael Vaughan's favourite umpire currently after the former England captain was contentiously thwarted in his attempt to open the Ashes summer with a substantial score here yesterday.

Vaughan's first moment in the spotlight in Yorkshire's opening match of the Championship season had started full of promise. With the England selector James Whitaker keeping a watching brief, Vaughan emerged from the pavilion at 40 for 1 after Graham Onions had uprooted Andrew Gale's off-stump and looked in control from the outset, steering his second delivery safely through the slip area to the third-man boundary, before driving Onions classically through the covers for a second four from five balls.

It must have helped, it must be said, that he is so familiar with the vagaries of Steve Harmison's bowling. As the England paceman struggled, as is his habit, to find early control, Vaughan was not slow to see the opportunities.

An almost disdainful uppercut over the slips brought him a third boundary – a first at Harmison's expense – before he punished his 2005 Ashes-winning ally with a haughty straight drive and a bristling pull over mid-wicket.

But just as all seemed well it was all undone in a flash. Harmison banged one in short and though Vaughan appeared to avoid any contact, umpire Cook responded to Durham's appeals with a raised finger.

The long, hard stare that Vaughan directed towards Cook needed no words of accompaniment. Vaughan was convinced that, whatever Cook had seen or heard, there was no contact between ball and bat or glove. Afterwards Vaughan said: "I was feeling good and you can understand that I was disappointed but it's all part of the game." Replayed pictures from the camera present were inconclusive.

Whitaker's report to his fellow selectors will be inconclusive too. Much as he looks in good fettle, Vaughan surely needs a score under his belt to warrant a recall for the first Test against West Indies on 6 May. He has the second innings here, of course, and will play again for Yorkshire against Worcestershire next week in a match that begins the day before the squad is announced.

Overall it was Durham's day. Propelled to 362 all out after wicketkeeper Phil Mustard, who made a fine unbeaten 94, had shared a stand of 86 for the eighth-wicket with Callum Thorp, the champions overcame the difficulties encountered by both Harmison and Liam Plunkett to keep taking wickets as Yorkshire finished still 98 adrift with four wickets in hand, with Joe Sayers obliged to bat despite an injured shoulder.

Jacques Rudolph made serene progress only to be caught behind tickling Harmison to leg, Anthony McGrath chipped Thorp to midwicket, Gerard Brophy batted superbly to reach 75 before being deceived by Ian Blackwell and Tom Bresnan chopped on to Plunkett.