Vaughan knows he has to seize the day
Durham 362 & 303-5 Yorkshire 272 & 3-0
Saturday 25 April 2009
If Michael Vaughan is to post the major score he needs to propel himself back into Test contention then Yorkshire would be as delighted as England's selectors were it to happen today.
The final innings of this match represents Vaughan's final opportunity to turn style into substance ahead of Tuesday's meeting between Geoff Miller and company, whose view is likely to be that two or three attractive cameos from the former captain are not enough to warrant a place in the opening Test against West Indies.
That could change, however, should Vaughan, who departed with a scowl following his first-innings dismissal, leave the field with bat raised in triumph today. More pertinently, from Yorkshire's point of view, it may mean that they have denied Durham a winning start to their title defence.
That looked a tall order for much of yesterday, as the tail end of Yorkshire's first innings collapsed ignominiously before an explosive Michael di Venuto subjected their bowlers to some painful punishment with the bat.
Opening partner Mark Stoneham perished to the third ball of the innings as Matthew Hoggard raced in with purpose but the Australian-born left-hander, himself cut off in his prime first time around – albeit through a poor shot rather than a questionable decision – made sure Yorkshire would enjoy no second reprieve.
As Di Venuto gathered boundaries at a fearsome pace, with captain Will Smith the perfect foil at the other end, Durham's 90-run first innings lead had grown significantly even by lunch. At tea, though Smith had patted back a return catch to Adil Rashid, the advantage was already past 300.
Di Venuto fell shortly afterwards for 143, chipping to mid-off in an attempt to add to his 20 boundaries. It was a second wicket for the leg-spinner Rashid, whose success in having Ian Blackwell soon caught at slip at least thwarted Durham's plan to expose Yorkshire to half an hour of Steve Harmison at the close.
The England fast bowler had looked in good order in the morning, striking twice as Yorkshire's last four first-innings wickets tumbled for a paltry eight runs. In the event, despite Gordon Muchall's unbeaten half-century taking their lead to 393, Durham allowed him and Graham Onions only a couple of overs each as Yorkshire closed on three without loss.
A day might be enough for the champions to take 10 wickets. The pitch is still sound, however, and Vaughan's moment might well be imminent.
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