Yorkshire 270-6 v Hampshire: Gale's force takes focus off Vaughan

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The Independent Online

The form of the England captain, Michael Vaughan, had to take a backseat to the performance from the relative rookie Andrew Gale

At the close the 24-year-old, whose innings was watched by the England selector James Whitaker, was on the brink of a deserved hundred, which was the best thing that could have happened for Yorkshire and Vaughan, who was out for very few, again.

There was a mix of discipline and dismissive shots from the Dewsbury-born Gale. One example late on saw a full toss from the New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond smacked contemptuously to the boundary.

As for talk of Vaughan's apparent struggles, after his efforts last week against Bradford-Leeds UCCE when he faced a total of 29 balls in his two innings and was out for 0 and 2, the doom-mongers are being a trifle premature.

Despite a modest score yesterday ,the England captain did not flunk his examination. He was able to prove himself against Bond, one of the best fast bowlers around after a shaky start. He was on three when he pushed at a rapid delivery from Bond and got an inside edge. The ball flew to short leg, where Michael Brown fell backwards and failed to hang on to the ball.

But as the lunch interval drew near Vaughan's confidence grew, as demonstrated with two glorious drives for four, both off Bond, as well as a polished pull off the same bowler. Sadly, he then drove at a ball from the Kiwi which found the edge and Greg Lamb took the resultant catch.

The brevity of Vaughan's innings did not worry the Yorkshire coach Martyn Moxon. "He looked fantastic, so it was a shame he couldn't go on," Moxon said. "He was in good shape, his balance looked good and his footwork sharp."

Yorkshire lost a couple more wickets shortly after lunch, but Jacques Rudolph (59) and Gale pulled things around, adding 107 for the fourth wicket, and later on Gerard Brophy, who was out shortly before the close, joined Gale in a sixth-wicket stand of 66.