Gloom lifted by big hitting

Yorkshire 268 & 309-3 dec Leicestershire 406-8 dec Match drawn
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The Independent Online
A Sparkling 163 not out by Yorkshire's overseas batting star, Darren Lehmann, who thumped 19 fours and five sixes, was the highlight of the final day's play as Leicestershire, the champions, and Yorkshire drew in a match which had earlier been ruined by rain. The left-handed South Australian, who was averaging more than 60 before this fixture, smashed the ball repeatedly to all sections of Grace Road during a memorable 166-minute innings which was as quick as it was entertaining.

It was a pity such big hitting could not win the game but it at least ensured a draw on a flat pitch which gave no assistance to Leicestershire's bowlers in their efforts to bowl Yorkshire out cheaply. Lehmann's spectacular assault, which provided great entertainment for a crowd which appreciated that neither side was likely to win, was his third three-figure score for Yorkshire in the Championship.

However, it should not be assumed that Leicestershire were giving Lehmann cheap runs. Except just before the end, James Whitaker, the Leicestershire skipper, employed his main bowlers, the most impressive of whom was arguably 19-year-old James Ormond who bowled with pace and aggression.

Lehmann, at his most savage when thrashing the off-spinner Adrian Pierson for four sixes, shared an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 160 with Bradley Parker who was happy to play a supporting role. Lehmann was 44 not out at tea with Parker unbeaten on one, but by the time Yorkshire ended the match by declaring at 309 for 3 Lehmann had added a further 119 while Parker was just 15 not out.

Lehmann's innings and Moxon's contribution of 63 had prepared Yorkshire confidently for their second-round NatWest Trophy tie against Leicestershire at Grace Road on Wednesday.

Earlier, Leicestershire had declared their first innings on 406 for 8 to claim a first-innings lead of 138. But with an easy-paced wicket and time running out, a victory for the champions, who have now drawn eight of their nine fixtures, was in all probability out of the question.

The weather has been especially unkind to Leicestershire who have lost more than 1,200 overs in the Championship because of rain. Before yesterday's sunshine, this fixture had seen more than 100 overs wiped out because of downpours. The financial consequences, too, are serious. Leicestershire reckon that they have lost pounds 20,000 in their last two home fixtures, and the Grace Road administrators are praying the sunshine reappears on Wednesday for the NatWest tie.

One encouraging feature of Yorkshire's performance was the Championship debut of Ryan Sidebottom, son of Arnie, who took 3 for 71 with his quick left-arm seamers.

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