Leaning, Hodd lead Champions to draw

Leaning, Hodd lead Champions to draw

RESULT: Warwickshire 435 (Westwood 196; Bresnan 5/86) and 219/7d (Westwood 84; Middlebrook 5/82) drew with Yorkshire 303 (Gale 96; Rankin 6/55) and 221/4 (Hodd 54*), at Headingley

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Hodd, seen here in the Abu Dhabi, led Yorkshire to a draw.

Despite the best efforts of Warwickshire’s bowlers, Yorkshire held on to secure a draw on the final day of their LV County Championship encounter at Headingley. Varun Chopra dangled a carrot in front of the hosts after lunch, but there was not enough time or help from the pitch to force a result either way.

Laurie Evans was dismissed with the seventh ball of the day, Bresnan getting a ball to nip back in and rap him on the pads. Westwood was joined by teenager Sam Hain, and just as they were starting to up the ante, rain interfered and the players came off with Westwood 17 short of his hundred.

Nobody had ever scored two centuries in a first-class match at Headingley before today, and the statistic still stands after Westwood was trapped in front by James Middlebrook for 84.

Stand-in wicketkeeper Peter McKay, who has looked slightly out of his depth in this match with both bat and gloves, was sent in to bat above Rikki Clarke. Immediately after Sam Hain unveiled a compact reverse-sweep that earned him a run, McKay was stumped off Middlebrook’s next ball to leave Warwickshire 167/5, with a lead of 299. Soon after, a heavy blast of sleet and hail precipitated a break in play and a further loss of overs.

James Middlebrook claimed eight victims in the match, proving that he is still a canny enough bowler to operate at the top level in what is likely to be the final game of his county career. In the 55th over, Rikki Clarke plundered a six and a four off Middlebrook’s first two balls before picking out Matt Fisher at deep midwicket, after which Chopra did call time to leave Yorkshire with a target of 352 off 68 overs.

Lees and Rhodes were steady rather than explosive in the first overs of Yorkshire’s chase. They started brightly against Barker and Wright, but once Jeetan Patel was brought on to take advantage of the breezy conditions and the turn in the pitch, the Kirkstall Lane end was tied down. Lees timed a sweet cut off Rikki Clarke beautifully, but was caught behind later in the 13th over with another shaky take from Peter McKay.

Cheteshwar Pujara joined Rhodes, and after surviving a close lbw shout against Patel when padding up, demonstrated his class with some fine boundaries. Rhodes was out lbw to Patel shuffling across his stumps to leave Yorkshire two down, but Gale and Pujara kept Yorkshire’s hopes of springing a surprise win on Warwickshire by seeing through until tea at 121/2, needing 231 from the final 38-over session.

Pujara departed early in the final session, trying to work Patel onto the leg side and being given lbw, despite suggestions that the ball was going down. When Gale edged Patel behind for 28, Yorkshire were in trouble for the second time in the match.

Armed with a packed close field, Patel toiled at dislodging Leaning and Hodd, who were intent on staying together until the close. An edge off Leaning fell just short of Rikki Clarke, and Varun Chopra dropped a catch that came quickly to him at short leg. It was the last chance of the match, though, and Leaning and Hodd both ended the match with handy not-outs in an unbeaten stand of 131, with Hodd recording his first 50 of the Championship season.

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