Yorkshire have demonstrated admirable fortitude against the champions for three days. The bitter disappointment of losing one of the closest of all limited-overs semi-finals last week might have sapped energies both physical and mental but few sides - except maybe Warwickshire who lost a cup tie of their own - could have picked themselves up and dusted themselves down so thoroughly or so quickly. This time, they are not top of the table for nothing.
For most of the match Yorkshire have held the advantage over the most enterprising side in England and have refused to surrender it after Darren Gough's diligently zestful maiden century yesterday, which further enhanced his aspirations of one day becoming a genuine all-rounder. They retained the initiative when Warwickshire batted again. The assistance of some injudicious strokeplay left Warwickshire with a deficit of 76 with six wickets in hand. They might easily have had to settle for an insubstantial lead but an early clatter of wickets refused to diminish their resolve. They eventually charged into a dominant position through bold partnerships for the ninth and tenth wickets. At the heart of both was Gough.
You may remember Gough. Not so long ago, he was the saviour of English cricket, the brightest, fizziest thing to come along in years. This obviously explains why he is now struggling to regain his England place.
His innings yesterday was typical of the breezy character of the fellow. It began with an indifferently executed shot which narrowly cleared extra cover but proceeded with a combination of authority and outrageousness.
Gough's 11 fours were complemented by four sixes, all of them clinically struck, the last to the ball before that which dismissed him. The purposeful way in which Yorkshire have played in this contest suggests that talk of the Championship may not be completely premature. The same may not be true of Warwickshire
Warwickshire began as they would have wished yesterday on a slow turning pitch. Neil Smith came in from the Pavilion End and took four wickets in 20 consecutive overs. As they included Anthony McGrath, who had been so assiduous the previous evening and deserved a better end than the rather innocuous lob to midwicket which accounted for him, they might have considered they had broken through. At 346 for eight, Yorkshire were still not ahead sufficiently to make batting fourth anything less than an undesirable proposition.
Gough, initially accompanied by Chris Silverwood, stretched the lead rapidly at first. The pair put on 72 in 24 overs and Silverwood, a fast medium bowler of considerable potential, did more than his share.
Warwickshire's left-arm spinner, Ashley Giles, continued to wheel away and it did not take long for him to be reduced to coming over the wicket bowling into the rough with six men in various defensive positions on the leg side.
With Silverwood's departure, Richard Stemp assumed his place and there were understandable signs of irritation from Warwickshire. This was what they have become accustomed to doing to others.Reuse content