McGrath and Sayers trump Sutcliffe
Anthony McGrath and Joe Sayers took a Yorkshire record away from two of the county’s pre-war legends on a run-filled second day in the LV= County Championship Division One match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
A partnership of 346 in 98 overs surpassed the previous best of 323 for the third wicket set by England batsmen Herbert Sutcliffe and Maurice Leyland against Glamorgan at the Fartown ground in Huddersfield in 1928.
The systematic mauling of Warwickshire’s attack allowed McGrath, who made the first double century of his career, to declare on 600 for eight in time to give his bowlers 18 overs before the close.
Set 451 to avoid the follow-on, the home side lost Tony Frost, edging Deon Kruis to first slip in the fourth over, but Ian Westwood and Ian Bell avoided further trouble in reaching 81 for one.
If Sayers was the rock in Yorkshire’s innings, facing 441 balls for his 173 in not far short of 10 hours, McGrath was the destructive force in hitting 26 fours and three sixes in an impressive 211 from 324 deliveries.
Resuming on 258 for two, with their stand already worth 134, they eventually kept Warwickshire waiting the equivalent of a full day for their next wicket.
Bowlers have had a rough time in the first two championship fixtures in Birmingham this season. When McGrath called his batsmen in, four innings had produced 1,906 runs, two double hundreds, four centuries and two county record partnerships. Jim Troughton and Tim Ambrose broke Warwickshire’s fifth-wicket record in the draw with Hampshire.
Yet for all Yorkshire’s dominance - McGrath advanced from 50 to 150 at exactly a run a ball - they should have been reined back for a lesser total.
In all, Warwickshire put down four chances and when Neil Carter hit the right spot, albeit with the score past 500, he took three wickets in eight balls.
Andrew Gale found second slip, attempting to drive the left-armer, McGrath’s marathon innings ended when he chopped on, and Adil Rashid touched a lifter into the slips.
Until then, the day had brought nothing but drudgery for Warwickshire as they failed to take even a single bowling bonus point when Yorkshire reached the 120-over cut-off at 374 for two.
Left-hander Sayers was clearly in no mood to vacate the crease after going through 26 innings without a first-class half-century.
Adding only one run in the first 35 minutes on the second morning, he was on 115 after 100 overs but gradually picked up the tempo to hit 24 boundaries before Rikki Clarke held a chance at slip. The wicket was a first in the championship for New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel.
Wicketkeeper Ambrose took two catches, the first from Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, who made 32, giving Carter a return of 4-129, before Yorkshire’s closure with Gerard Brophy unbeaten on 40.