Rankin takes six as Gale finds controversy once again

Rankin takes six as Gale finds controversy once again

Stumps, Day Three: Warwickshire 435 and 108/2 lead Yorkshire 303 (Gale 96; Rankin 6/55) by 240 runs, at Headingley

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Andrew Gale (right) looks dejected after being dismissed by Boyd Rankin

A controversial umpiring decision deprived Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale of a century on his first LV County Championship match at Headingley after his suspension for an on-field spat with Ashwell Prince last season.

Gale was on 96 when he swatted a Boyd Rankin full-toss to Sam Hain at cover, but stood his ground for a long time and asked the umpires whether the delivery was legitimate. Replays suggest that he was unlucky to be given out as the ball would have passed comfortably above his waist, and therefore should have been called a no-ball.

Speaking after play, Gale said he was disappointed to miss out on a three-figure score but acknowledged that “umpires make mistakes”.

While the end of his innings was disappointing, Gale said he feels “in good touch” and admitted that if they hadn’t avoided the follow-on, “there was only going to be one winner,” so he “needed to stand up and bat through the innings”.

His overnight partner Jack Leaning began the day by attacking the Warwickshire bowlers in stylish fashion, driving and pulling comfortably; he was lucky that a half-chance he offered prodding forward to Jeetan Patel fell just short of William Porterfield at second slip. However, when Rankin was brought on around midday Leaning pulled his second ball straight into the hands of Hain at deep backward square – one of Rankin’s six wickets in the innings.

After rain forced an early lunch, Tim Bresnan celebrated the announcement of his inclusion in England’s ODI squad by playing all around a delivery from Jeetan Patel to have his stumps disturbed the moment the ECB tweeted the list. Yorkshire were plunged in deeper trouble when Gale sent James Middlebrook back after pushing Rikki Clarke to short mid-off, and Middlebrook was duly run out at the non-striker’s end.

It was Rankin, bowling from the Football Stand end, who made the breakthrough with a superb delivery that caught the edge of Patterson’s bat, held at the second attempt by Peter McKay. Gale was then joined by Jack Brooks, who has been known to add valuable lower-order runs in the past, but usually has a more secure platform to build on. He appeared to forget the match situation early on when he tried to uppercut Rikki Clarke, but he settled down well, and recorded a strong 50 partnership with Gale.

However, when Brooks was out carving Rankin to third man, Gale seemed to have no faith in last man Matthew Fisher. He swung hard at the second ball of Rankin’s over (after pinching the strike while Brooks was caught), but failed to make connection. The next delivery proved to be his last

With their best opportunity of winning (enforcing the follow-on) passed, Warwickshire made a nervous start to their second innings, with Varun Chopra trapped lbw by a delivery from Bresnan that seamed inwards and Westwood survived a close lbw call from Brooks.

Middlebrook was extracting appreciable turn, and when the Headingley floodlights came on for the first time during a match, Porterfield drove the spinner to Cheteshwar Pujara at cover and perished. Ian Westwood continued his obdurate form from the first innings, and Laurie Evans contributed a scratchy 15 to reach stumps with Warwickshire 108/2. A sharp chance went to Leaning at short leg, but it was spurned, while a short delay for bad light followed before stumps were eventually called.

Gale’s near-century helped Yorkshire out of the unfamiliar waters of being threatened with the follow-on, but all is not yet plain sailing for the White Rose: they trail by 240 runs, and Jeetan Patel is a dangerous operator on fourth-day wickets. A draw remains the most likely outcome.

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