Yorkshire defy Somerset charge

Lv County Championship

Yorkshire managed maximum batting bonus points and a first innings lead of 34 over title challengers Somerset at Scarborough but their chances of avoiding relegation to Division Two of the LV Championship were hit as fellow strugglers Lancashire pulled off a surprise win over Kent.

A fighting 128 by Anthony McGrath and a polished 98 from Jacques Rudolph helped Yorkshire reach 414 but they still struggled against some competitive bowling from Alfonso Thomas, who finished with 5-84.

With Marcus Trescothick having injured his shoulder during the morning training session, Craig Kieswetter opened the Somerset second innings with Arul Suppiah and they put on 25 in six overs to the close.

Both McGrath and Adam Lyth had already completed their half-centuries when Yorkshire began the third day on 121 for one and the pair moved their stand smartly on before Lyth attempted to drive Thomas over the top, only to lift a simple catch to Andy Caddick behind the bowler.

Jacques Rudolph

Jacques Rudolph batted superbly but fell just two short of a ton on day three

Charl Willoughby and Thomas were unable to stem the early runs, however, as McGrath and Rudolph punished anything short or wayward and three times in four balls Rudolph pulled Willoughby to the boundary.

It took the appearance of Caddick and Ian Blackwell to hold the scoring in check but McGrath remained very much in command and a single off Blackwell took him to his second century of the season off 173 balls with 15 fours.

It was McGrath’s 27th first-class century for his native county but it was the first he had managed off Somerset’s attack.

Yorkshire lunched at a healthy 236 for two and the stand expanded still further after the interval, reaching 141 in 40 overs before McGrath perished to the second new ball. His off-stump was sent spinning out of the ground by Thomas.

McGrath had never given a chance while facing 255 balls and hammering 18 boundaries.

In his next over, Thomas had Richard Pyrah caught behind and when Tim Bresnan suffered a similar fate against Zander de Bruyn, Yorkshire were 318 for five.

The watchful Rudolph looked certain to complete his sixth century of the season but when he was two short of the landmark he was caught at first slip by Justin Langer off the gloves of wicketkeeper, Kieswetter, the left-hander having included 14 boundaries in his 149-ball innings.

Yorkshire, 326 for six at tea, had lost much of the momentum they had built up earlier in the day, and two more wickets for Thomas worsened their situation still further.

Gerard Brophy dragged a ball on to his leg stump and Darren Gough, after getting a generous ovation in his farewell home match, fell lbw.

Adil Rashid got to 28 before stepping out of his crease to Blackwell and being smartly stumped by Kieswetter although Matthew Hoggard took Yorkshire into the lead with a splendid drive through extra cover off Caddick.

Deon Kruis also went on the attack, striking Blackwell for a big six over mid-wicket, and the last wicket pair had put on 39 when de Bruyn had Hoggard caught at second slip.

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