Yorkshire's trail blazed by Moxon

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Yorkshire 345-5 Nottinghamshire 140 Yorkshire won by 205 runs

Putting teams in at Headingley has been known to have its rewards. But not when the sun blazes down from a cloudless sky, not when the pitch is mild mannered and not when much of the bowling is, shall we say, less than distinguished.

Above all, not when there is a batsman on view of the class of Martyn Moxon, who shredded Nottinghamshire's attack yesterday by making 137 from 157 deliveries in a way that suggested, and the watching Raymond Illingworth was happy to confirm, that he could still have a Test future rather than a past.

Michael Vaughan shared a free-wheeling opening partnership of 143 from 32 overs with him and Michael Bevan improvised as possibly only he can to score 69 from 42 balls, a piece of virtuosity that probably devastated bowlers who by then were exceedingly world weary and not a little frustrated.

All this left Nottinghamshire needing to surpass Warwickshire's 322 in the final three years ago, which is the highest score made by a side batting second and winning in this competition; unsurprisingly the necessary panache was not forthcoming against bowling that was always more controlled than their own.

As ever in most days' cricket, though, there was a finer dividing line between success and failure than the scorecard indicated. While Notts probably felt that they were better equipped for chasing a target, there was something in the pitch for their bowlers while the ball was new.

But this was one of those wretched days for them when the good balls contrived to miss the edge rather than find it. The trouble was that although Chris Cairns produced several beauties, beating even Moxon, there were far too few from other sources and Notts failed to keep an accurate off-stump line.

Thus Moxon never looked back after locating - and dealing with severely - the first of many half-volleys. Thereafter he had a stroke for almost every ball, most of them majestically timed, and gradually he hit powerfully through the line, which was not entirely straightforward on a pitch of lowish and occasionally variable bounce.

He gave one, maybe two, hard chances, the first long after Yorkshire were up and away. But judged by the usual helter-skelter of one-day cricket, it was flawless batting of a high pedigree. There cannot be a better equipped opener in the country, not withstanding the venerable Graham Gooch.

Illingworth knows this. He wanted to take Moxon to South Africa last winter but did not get his way. A damaged thumb stemmed the flow of runs that put Moxon in the selectors' minds earlier in the season and although there could be a case for playing three specialist opening batsmen against Pakistan later this summer, the presence of Messrs Waqar and Younis means this tendency to pick up such injuries is the only question mark on Moxon's cv.

Ironically, a couple of blows on the boot from yorkers gave Moxon most cause for concern in this innings. In the end he was caught on the boundary, where Nottinghamshire picked up four of their five wickets, which may tell you something about the quality of their attack.

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