Yorkshire suffer Byas blow

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The Independent Online

The Yorkshire captain, David Byas, a tough farmer used to punching cows in relentless sleet without wincing, succumbed to a painful injury yesterday afternoon and limped off to hospital for urgent examination.

The Yorkshire captain, David Byas, a tough farmer used to punching cows in relentless sleet without wincing, succumbed to a painful injury yesterday afternoon and limped off to hospital for urgent examination.

Facing the medium-fast pace of Peter Trego, he twisted in the crease to avoid a short ball and collapsed, seemingly wrenching his knee ligaments.

Meanwhile, a clutch of his colleagues grafted in the heat to deny Somerset any hope of enforcing the follow-on, but the home bowlers kept chipping away to keep the game alive. With the weather set fair at last, it was an absorbing day witnessed by a sizeable crowd, including the impressive travelling army of Yorkshire supporters who make this fixture an annual pilgrimage.

The three batsmen who ensured that Yorkshire not only avoided follow-on embarrassment but pressed on towards parity - Vic Craven, Darren Lehmann and Adrian McGrath - all surrendered their wickets with seeming carelessness, a tribute to the persistence of the Somerset bowling.

Shorn of Andy Caddick's sheer class and deprived of Matt Bulbeck's promise by persistent injury, the West Country attack can look toothless on the benign Taunton wicket, but they stuck doggedly to the task.

The left-handed opener Craven, who is in his first season, moved in mature fashion to 42 before stepping back to the spinner Ian Blackwell and scooping a feeble catch to Trego at mid-wicket. Lehmann, rocking on to the back foot and crashing the ball to all parts, reached an imperious 50 in 58 balls before being bowled taking an appalling yahoo at Trego. As for McGrath, after a compact and watchful innings he simply punted a long hop back to Blackwell.

This is an important fixture, given extra spice by the two-division structure. While Yorkshire are in keen pursuit of Surrey, and will have been warmed by the news of Lancashire's cheap dismissal at the Oval, Somerset could in previous years simply have been coasting in fourth place. Now, though, they must fight on into September to avoid suddenly sinking into the relegation zone.

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