Rashid and Wainwright turn the tide
Adil Rashid and David Wainwright each hit hundreds in a Yorkshire rearguard which turned their LV County Championship Division One relegation battle against Sussex on its head on the second day at Hove.
The young spin twins showed they can handle their bats well too as Yorkshire made a mockery of the initial struggle to 84 for six, under yesterday’s cloud cover and rain.
They added 316 for the loss of three ‘tailend’ wickets to declare on an astounding 400 for nine, on a day which finished with their hosts Sussex a hapless 25 for three in reply.
Rashid doubled the score this morning in an 80-run seventh-wicket stand with Tim Bresnan, before Wainwright became the mainstay - first in a partnership of 140 in 40 overs with the England Lions all-rounder and finally while he and number 11 Matthew Hoggard put on an unbroken 72.
Wainwright’s 104 not out and Rashid’s 111 were both chanceless career-bests, the former hitting 10 fours and a six from 169 balls on the way past his maiden first-class hundred and the latter just seven boundaries from 205 as he made his second.
Yorkshire’s full bank of batting points - a hugely improbable outcome, despite today’s far improved overhead conditions on a pitch which has been good throughout - means, from odds-on favourites for relegation, they have a still better chance of surviving.
Instead, it was champions Sussex who needed to bat well to steer a course for top-flight cricket next season.
Three lbws - Michael Yardy and Carl Hopkinson playing across full-length balls from Hoggard and nightwatchman Ollie Rayner for a first-ball duck to Rashid - gave absolutely no reason for encouragement in nine overs to stumps.
Twenty-year-old Rashid had begun and underpinned the Yorkshire fightback with an innings which was measured in both defence and attack.
But he could not have done so without two willing and able partners.
For the first hour this morning Sussex stuck to Plan A, and the pace of Mohammad Sami and Jason Lewry on a surface with useful carry.
But the nearest they came was a tough chance offered by Bresnan on 26 off Lewry to Chris Adams, unable to hang on as he dived full length to his right at second slip.
It was therefore time for Sussex to start to explore other options, and the last of them - Rayner’s off-spin - did the trick in his very first over.
Bresnan aimed to hit with the tide but instead edged on to his pad, allowing Adams to dive to his right to collect a looping slip catch this time - at the cost of only 14 more runs since his earlier spill.
When Richard Pyrah also went just before lunch, driving aerially at Robin Martin-Jenkins to be well-caught diving forward at point by Carl Hopkinson, the session had become only a qualified success for Yorkshire.
The same could not be said of the afternoon. Sussex went wicketless and rarely threatened despite the arrival of the second new ball.
A similar pattern extended well into the final session too, and did not change until umpire Richard Illingworth decided a ball from Sami (4-117) had stayed just low enough to warrant an lbw decision against Rashid on the back foot.
Wainwright, however, was far from done with.
Joined by Hoggard with two bonus points still unclaimed and only one wicket left, the little left-hander did not try to farm the strike - trusting a partner with handy Test runs on his CV.
The tactics proved well-founded, Wainwright demonstrating his shot-making against the short ball which Sussex persisted with.
He cashed in with a hook for six to go to 99 off Martin-Jenkins and then accepted a gift of a full toss from Yardy to complete his hundred.
When Hoggard too began to mix in some untypically flamboyant sweeps and drives, the champions really did have problems.
Sussex’s England wicketkeeper Matt Prior went off with a hand injury in the evening session, replaced by substitute Ben Brown.
Prior’s absence was precautionary, allowing him the opportunity to be assessed by Sussex’s physiotherapist.