Heroic Root guides Yorkshire to glory
An outstanding innings of 182 by Joe Root carried Yorkshire to a four-wicket win in the LV= County Championship match against Durham.
The England batsman defied the hosts throughout day four and only showed nerves when one was needed to win. Thirteen balls elapsed before he played back and was bowled by Callum Thorp, yet that did little to detract from Root’s stunning performance.
Tim Bresnan emerged to hit the next ball to the midwicket boundary and, despite the late jitters, Yorkshire still cruised home with 6.1 overs to spare.
Paul Collingwood's declaration with Durham on 275 for four in their second innings, setting a target of 336, always looked generous and Yorkshire duly pulled off the fourth-highest successful run-chase in their history.
Morning rain cleared in time for a prompt start and, having faced seven overs on the third evening, Yorkshire resumed on 17 without loss before losing two wickets to Chris Rushworth in the day's fifth over.
The seamer had two left-handers, Adam Lyth and Phil Jaques, caught behind with Jaques bagging a pair to make it 23 for two.
However, the unflappable Root then shared stands of 80 with skipper Andrew Gale, 59 with Jonny Bairstow, 72 with Gary Ballance and 101 with Adil Rashid.
After skying a pull to deep square-leg in the first innings, Bairstow middled one straight to long-leg to depart for 26, while Ballance edged a good ball from Ben Stokes to Phil Mustard.
Root's serene progress to his 180-ball century was threatened only when he survived a very tight run-out call on 87, going back for a second run to deep point.
Durham thought Mark Stoneman's throw had beaten him, but umpire Alex Wharf disagreed and was also unmoved when Root tried a reverse-sweep off Will Smith and Paul Collingwood held what he thought was a sharp catch at slip.
Yorkshire were 212 for four at tea, needing a further 124 from 34 overs, and Durham gambled on the leg-spin of Scott Borthwick after the break.
Unfortunately for the hosts, he bowled too many bad balls and runs came so easily that the target was down to 53 off 23 overs when the new ball became available.
On a sunny evening it had little impact on the placid pitch and other than Rashid offering a very sharp chance to gully off Graham Onions there was little sign of a breakthrough.
Root cut Rushworth's first delivery with the new ball for four and continued his flawless progress until he had a couple of minor scares on 168.
A ball from Rushworth struck him a painful blow on the hand and dropped close to the stumps, then an Onions delivery shot through at ankle height and just missed off stump.
Rashid remained unbeaten on 50, having reached his half-century off 75 balls with seven fours, while Root's final statistics were 283 deliveries and 22 fours.
Some of Rashid's early runs came a little streakily, but he played more sensibly than in the first innings, when careless batting had seen Yorkshire dismissed for 177 and displeased the management.
Had they suffered their second defeat in two games the alarm bells might have sounded, but Durham are now the ones under pressure after two successive defeats.
They have only one day's rest before starting at Trent Bridge on Monday against Nottinghamshire.