Williamson shines before chase is arranged

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Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson holds firm for Gloucestershire. He compiled 111 prior to a bizarre sequence of events that saw Yorkshire set 400 in 111 overs

Kane Williamson completed his second century in as many LV= County Championship games before Gloucestershire set Yorkshire a contrived target of 400 to win in 111 overs at Bristol.

The New Zealander took his overnight score of 89 to 111 before being one of five victims for Tim Bresnan in a Gloucestershire first-innings total of 351 for nine.

The last 52 of those runs were scored in just 3.1 overs off the bowling of Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale and Adam Lyth, who presented runs to last pair Ian Saxelby and championship debutant Graeme McCarter.

The visitors then forfeited their first innings and Gloucestershire crawled to 48 without loss off 27 overs before declaring, having set the agreed target. Yorkshire closed on 30 for one from 15 overs.

There was no sign of what was ahead when the hosts began the day on 165 for two. The cricket was orthodox as Williamson and Alex Gidman took the total to 203 before the latter offered a low catch to wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy off Bresnan.

The England seamer went on to send back Williamson, who had hit 128 in the previous championship game against Derbyshire, Hamish Marshall and Ian Cockbain as Gloucestershire progressed to 293 for six, and finished with 5-81 from 32 overs.

When Steve Patterson dismissed Richard Coughtrie and Ed Young for ducks with consecutive balls and then trapped Will Gidman lbw, the home side were 299 for nine and the chief point of interest appeared to be whether they would get a third batting point.

Yet the match took an unexpected twist as Gale introduced first Lyth and then himself to the attack, clearly in an effort to feed the opposition runs.

There was the strange sight of Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie ‘fielding’ outside the boundary rope to throw the ball back as Saxelby and McCarter blasted a succession of full tosses and long hops to the ropes.

Gloucestershire ended up with four batting points and Yorkshire three bowling. But more contrived cricket was to come as the home side batted again. Openers Chris Dent and Benny Howell took their time and were rarely threatened.

Finally, the game returned to normality as Yorkshire set about their task. Lyth was dropped on 10 at first slip by Alex Gidman off Saxelby before Will Gidman made the breakthrough with the score on 14.

Joe Sayers was caught behind off a defensive edge for one and, with the new ball nibbling about off the seam, Gloucestershire looked favourites.

But the pitch has played well and Yorkshire will fancy their chances on the final day if they can see off the new ball without losing further wickets.

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