Middlesex's spin bowlers failed to turn the screw as much as they might have expected here yesterday after Mark Ramprakash's career-best innings of 235 had left Yorkshire needing a little matter of 367 to avoid the follow-on.
No side with a batsman in such prime form as Martyn Moxon is entirely without hope, however, and he played the turning ball with much aplomb in going past 50 for the fifth time in seven innings.
Mostly this was achieved with some crisp front-foot strokes, a positive approach which enabled Yorkshire to pass 150 in even time and overcome early mishaps, which began when Michael Vaughan gave Dion Nash a straightforward catch.
This was something of a bonus. Even the erratic Richard Stemp had illustrated earlier that the odd ball would turn sharper than hitherto and not long after the slow bowlers appeared in the seventh over, David Byas fell though this possibly owed more to John Emburey's flight than the pitch.
After a few confident strokes off the back foot, Michael Bevan was caught off a mixture of bat and pad off Paul Weekes, who had entered the attack perhaps to spare Phil Tufnell the problem of bowling at a left-hander.
Presumably, only a broken finger and broken thumb have kept Moxon, who is currently averaging nearly 90, out of contention for the England team . . . unless it is the fact that he is an experienced, specialist opener. Inevitably, he found himself batting in the shadow of Ramprakash's superb effort, but his innings was equally composed.
Ramprakash had already taken double centuries off Sussex and Surrey, but, given the conditions here, this innings may be the pick of the trio. For some eight hours he treated every ball strictly on its merits, never gave a chance and even managed to wipe the illustrious name of Patsy Hendren from the record-books by making the highest score for Middlesex against Yorkshire this century.
He reached his own best ever with a remarkable stroke which was a mixture of pick-up and hook which deposited a ball from Craig White a long way over the midwicket boundary. He was caught behind down the leg side, having also hit 31 fours - tremendous stuff.
n The Anglo-Australian Andrew Symonds rewrote the record books when he struck a world record 16 sixes during an unbeaten 254 for Gloucestershire at Glamorgan.Reuse content