Chanderpaul frustrates Yorkshire
Another century by Shivnarine Chanderpaul further undermined Yorkshire’s hold on Division One status and edged Warwickshire closer to the LV= County Championship crown at Edgbaston.
Needing to make 350 to have enough bonus points to overhaul Lancashire after the leaders’ early defeat at Worcestershire, they were just about on course as Chanderpaul’s 110 from 182 balls helped level the scores with six wickets down at the end of the second day.
Having dismissed Yorkshire for 281 in the morning, when Rikki Clarke mopped up the last two wickets after signing a new two-year contract, the hosts did not have things all their own way when they batted.
Ryan Sidebottom and fellow seamers Ajmal Shahzad and Moin Ashraf bowled with purpose to capture the first four wickets for 137, but the in-form Tim Ambrose made an unbeaten 68 and shared in a stand of 135 for the fifth wicket.
For the second time in nine days Yorkshire’s bowlers were run ragged by Chanderpaul’s powers of concentration and destruction.
Having made 193 in 434 minutes at Headingley Carnegie last week, the West Indies left-hander adopted his familiar pose, crouched over the crease, almost square on to the bowler, and refused to budge for four and a half hours.
It has been Yorkshire’s misfortune to run into an exceptional player who is targeting a third county championship after twice winning the title with Durham.
His arrival for the last five matches could be the key component in strengthening a batting line-up in which only one of the top-order regulars has averaged more than 40.
This fragility was evident as Varun Chopra and Will Porterfield edged catches off Shahzad and Sidebottom, but Ian Westwood found some form as he comfortably outpaced Chanderpaul in a stand of 67.
Seven fours helped the opener to 55 before he was caught at first slip off Sidebottom, and when Jim Troughton followed suit, flashing at a ball from Ashraf, Yorkshire seemed to be in the box seat.
However, Chanderpaul continued to be the immovable object, although not without a delicate touch in finding gaps in the field. Ambrose, with 10 fours in his half-century, was generally the more forceful until his partner quickened up with two sixes and six fours after reaching 50.
Sidebottom finally gave Yorkshire renewed hope by breaking a stand of 135 when Chanderpaul nicked a catch behind the wicket and the former England bowler also trapped nightwatchman Chris Metters lbw in the final over.
Somehow Yorkshire have to find a way to win this match and then beat Somerset in the final fixture to have a realistic chance of finishing above resurgent rivals Worcestershire and Hampshire.