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Gale and Rudolph run riot

Andrew Gale

Andrew Gale outpaced opening partner Jacques Rudolph as both blazed tons in a 10-wicket demolition of hosts Essex

Andrew Gale and Jacques Rudolph hit superb unbeaten centuries as Yorkshire thrashed Essex by 10 wickets in their Clydesdale Bank 40 Group B clash at Chelmsford.

Responding to a total of 232 for nine, the visitors romped home with 4.1 overs to spare to inflict the heaviest defeat suffered by Essex in a limited-overs match. The previous record was also against Yorkshire, by nine wickets at Headingley in 1982.

Captain Gale brought up his maiden one-day hundred en route to 125 off 115 deliveries, which included 12 fours and three sixes, while Rudolph made 101 of 102 balls with the help of 13 fours.

Their partnership represented Yorkshire’s highest for any wicket in one-day cricket.

The nearest Essex came to breaking it was when the total had reached 64. Gale, on 30, thrashed hard to cover point where Tim Phillips spilled a difficult low chance.

From then onwards, the Yorkshire pair progressed with embarrassing ease while plundering runs from seven bowlers.

Yorkshire's other star was former West Indies paceman Tino Best, who marked his debut with 4-46 from eight overs.

Essex’s total was built around 39-year-old Grant Flower’s unbeaten 113, his first century in English limited-overs cricket.

He arrived after the first two wickets had gone down in the opening four overs and skilfully found the gaps against both pace and spin to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Flower's innings was punctuated by seven fours and a six - at the expense of spinner David Wainwright when he launched him over long-off - and the only other batsman to make a worthwhile contribution was skipper Mark Pettini, who struck 51 before cutting Wainwright to backward point.

That dismissal brought to an end a third-wicket partnership of 81 in 15 overs and none of the remaining batsmen got beyond 16 as Best made his presence felt.

Having bowled England opener Alastair Cook with a full toss in his first over, he destroyed the middle order.

It all added up to a fine start for Yorkshire, who went into this game having won two and drawn the third of their matches in the LV= County Championship.