Dominic Cork five-fer hands Hampshire advantage
by John Ward

Ground:North Marine Road, Scarborough
Scorecard:Yorkshire v Hampshire
Player:A Lyth, AU Rashid, DG Cork
Event:LV County Championship 2010

DateLine: 25th August 2010


The loss of the entire first day to rain was a serious blow to Yorkshire, just behind Nottinghamshire in the championship table but having played and extra match. This was now a three-day match at Scarborough, and time was their enemy. So, it turned out, was the evergreen Dominic Cork, who played the major role in restricting Yorkshire’s innings to 322 runs with superb seam bowling that brought him five wickets. Tim Bresnan took the field for Yorkshire, although it was for one day only; after the day’s play he was to join the England team and be replaced by Richard Pyrah, a regulation that makes a mockery of first-class county cricket.


Hampshire won the toss and put Yorkshire in to bat on a pitch with a green tinge. Before Yorkshire went in, there was a brief ceremony outside the pavilion in which Adam Lyth was presented with his Yorkshire county cap. He opened the batting with Jacques Rudolph against the bowling of Cork and James Tomlinson, who both moved the ball a little. But the luck was with the home side, as both batsmen at times played and missed, or edged the ball through or just short of the slips, without providing the wicket the bowlers would have had and deserved in most similar situations. For their part the batsmen kept their heads admirably, played difficult deliveries with soft hands and took toll of the occasional loose ball.


The reserve seamers came on, and immediately Sean Ervine looked a threat, moving the ball sharply off the seam and producing some superb deliveries; he might well have broken through except that his length was perhaps a little too short. At the other end David Balcombe looked innocuous, but ironically it was he who broke the opening partnership. Rudolph decided to take advantage of his mediocre deliveries, hitting 14 runs off the first five balls. The sixth was well wide of the off stump, but Rudolph went for the drive, a poorly executed stroke, and edged to the keeper. He had scored 34 of the partnership of 61.


Lyth, who had previously made most of the running with the bat, was rather becalmed for a while after that, just occasionally producing a flashing cover drive or cut, and was 46 at lunch, out of a total of 104 for one. He reached his fifty, off 93 balls, in the first over after lunch, and began to hit out more freely. Then Cork took a hand with some superb bowling. He produced a fast rearing delivery that Lyth tried to pull, but was too late in his stroke and lobbed a catch to the keeper, probably off the glove. His 63 had included 13 fours, a high proportion. In the same over his partner, Anthony McGrath (21), was quite nonplussed by a perfectly pitched ball that he edged to give Michael Bates his third catch at the wicket out of three. Worse was to follow as Tomlinson, who did a fine supporting job for Cork at the other end, had Andrew Gale groping at a good rising ball just outside the off stump, to be caught in the slips for 3. Fortune was now smiling on Hampshire instead, and at 133 for four Yorkshire had to consolidate urgently.


The slide continued as Cork produced another fine delivery to trap Jonny Bairstow lbw for 5, although it was perhaps a marginal decision. This brought in Adil Rashid, who was in feisty mood as he immediately hammered three off-side fours off Tomlinson. Ervine replaced the latter, and soon won the applause of the partisan crowd with two bouncers, both of which moved sharply to leg and beat the keeper for four byes apiece. Rashid and Gerard Brophy fought back with confidence and panache, attacking the bowling with zest and making one wonder what on earth the problem had been earlier. But by then though 38-year-old Cork had been forced to take a break and the best efforts of the rest of his staff were unable to compensate. Rashid raced to his fifty off 61 balls, particularly strong through the covers like so many of the Yorkshire batsmen, and tea found Yorkshire in the ascendant again at 244 for five, the partnership having already added 103.


Only another eight were added after the interval before Cork struck again, although his fourth wicket was due more to a very sharp low catch at point by Chris Benham, as Brophy (44) slashed a ball outside off stump straight to him. Cork in his third spell, after tea with the old ball, certainly never lacked effort but was not the danger he had been earlier. Rashid continued on his merry way to 76, a vital innings for his team, and well deserved a century, but he was unlucky as a ball from Ervine kept low and trapped him lbw, the total now being 287 for seven.


Two overs later the new ball was available, and Cork was immediately rejuvenated. With two balls he beat Tim Bresnan; the third had him edging to the keeper for 20. Yorkshire’s tactics for a while after this were unclear, as Ajmal Shahzad and Steven Patterson concentrated on seeing off Cork rather than getting after the runs, but when Balcombe replaced Cork he had the latter caught at backward point for 7. Then, with just three overs left for the day, Yorkshire declared at 322 for nine, with Shahzad unbeaten on 21. Cork finished with the admirable figures of five for 64. The other bowlers did not have much to show for their efforts, although the left-arm spinner Danny Briggs was impressive but unrewarded.


Yorkshire might with advantage have declared earlier rather than let their lower order potter around at the crease; six or eight overs would have given them a better chance of shaking up the Hampshire top order. As it was, Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams survived this short period and put 8 runs on the board. Unless one team collapses, the likelihood is a draw, which will not suit the home team.