Emburey takes charge

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reports from Headingley

Middlesex 516-9 dec Yorkshire 250 and 241 Middlesex win by an innings and 25 runs

Middlesex, or to be more precise, John Emburey, needed only 100 minutes or so to complete victory over Yorkshire by an innings and 25 runs here yesterday. Emburey took seven of the last eight wickets at a cost of only 33 runs, and emerged with match figures of 12 for 157.

Such an outcome was always predictable once Mike Gatting had won a decidedly important toss and given the vast disparity in the quality of each side's slow bowlers; with the ball turning sharply at varying heights, Yorkshire needed a miracle when they resumed 87 behind with two wickets gone.

More realistically, they needed at least two lengthy, disciplined and lucky innings, but Martyn Moxon, who along with Mark Ramprakash had raised batting to sublime heights in these conditions, had long gone. In the first innings, it took a ball which pitched on or outside leg stump and hit the off stump to prise him out, which illustrates as clearly as anything how much Emburey and Phil Tufnell had going for them.

Thus much depended on whether the two left-handers, David Byas and Michael Bevan, could settle in, enjoy the rub of the green and hope for generous lapses of length and line.

Some hope. Bevan tends not to be as composed against slow bowling on helpful pitches as he is against the quicker stuff and also has a tendency to lunge on to the front foot. In Emburey's first over he padded up, and might be considered unlucky when the ball looped up to glance off his bat to silly point.

The doughty Byas grafted away patiently and was within one run of a valiant half-century when, ironically, his first rush of blood brought his downfall. Advancing perhaps a shade too soon, he was beaten and stumped when Emburey saw him coming and fired one in that spun a long way past the bat.

Nothing much happened to worry Middlesex after that. Emburey plied his trade from close to the stumps or around the wicket, occasionally drifting one with the arm past the edge of the bat. At the other end, Tufnell's only victim of the day was Craig White, bowled by a ball that turned a long way.