Yorkshire on the brink of relegation
Yorkshire’s Division One status is hanging by a thread after a draw with title-chasing Warwickshire at Edgbaston impacted on both ends of the LV= County Championship.
To have any chance of staying up the Tykes must beat Somerset in their final fixture at Headingley Carnegie next week, but for Warwickshire the title race is still wide open after this week’s reshuffle at the top.
They are three points clear of previous leaders Lancashire, with both counties having two games to play. Durham nipped into the top slot, seven points ahead of Warwickshire, although the north-east county have only one match left.
Set to make 349 in 78 overs after Gary Ballance’s maiden championship century for Yorkshire, Warwickshire were beginning to wind up for a late charge when they were shut down by bad light with the total on 214 for three.
With 135 wanted from 20.4 overs, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Jim Troughton were flying along in an unbroken stand of 125 until the umpires, Jeff Evans and Peter Hartley, took their decision. It may have been untimely but the conditions had noticeably worsened.
Chanderpaul was cut off as he continued his one-man crusade against Yorkshire. An unbeaten 56 lifted his aggregate off their attack to 359 runs in more than 14 hours’ batting spread over 11 days.
The West Indies left-hander hoisted two leg-side sixes off Joe Root in completing his half-century but Troughton was not to be overshadowed as he put a run of indifferent form behind him with 62 not out.
Yorkshire competed well throughout and no-one took more out of the match than 21-year-old Ballance, who excelled in setting up a declaration at 385 for eight after an hour’s batting on the final morning.
Having been close so many times this season – he has got to 50 eight times in the championship – the talented Zimbabwean finally posted the elusive hundred when making 111 from 159 balls.
A forceful left-hander, he reached three figures with a handsome cover-drive for his 12th four, and put on 188 with Adil Rashid, a sixth-wicket record for Yorkshire in meetings with Warwickshire.
Their dismissals were no more than token prizes for the home side as Troughton held two catches. The first from Ballance was fairly straightforward at mid-on but the second was a brilliant left-handed take from Rashid, who made 82, at long-off.
After the declaration, Yorkshire’s bowlers got off to a perfect start in the second over when Varun Chopra drove at Ajmal Shahzad’s first delivery and feathered a catch through to wicketkeeper Jonathan Bairstow.
Left handers Ian Westwood, with 31, and Will Porterfield, who struck 47, then steadied the title-chasers with a stand of 82, and there was little panic when they fell in quick succession to Rashid and Steven Patterson.