LV= Insurance County Championship - 14 April 2022

Yorkshire win

Venue: Seat Unique Stadium

Gloucestershire vs Yorkshire

Day four

A career-best 177 from James Bracey wasn't enough to prevent Gloucestershire slipping to their first defeat of the LV=Insurance County Championship First Division seasib at home to Yorkshire. It was instead a Dawid Malan half-century that guided his Yorkshire side to a six-wicket victory at the Seat Unique Stadium on the final day of a thrilling match in Bristol.

The white rose county were made to fight for their win after James Bracey registering an outstanding career-best 177 from 331 balls in a marathon innings of more than seven and a half hours that propelled the hosts to 359 in their second innings. Bracey harvested 17 fours and 3 sixes and dominated a defiant stand of 104 for the seventh wicket with Zafar Gohar to ensure the contest went into the final session of the fourth day.

The Bristolian was last man out shortly after lunch, removed by Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson, who claimed 4-43, while Haries Rauf finished with 3-96.

Set 211 to win in 60 overs, Yorkshire's chase was spearheaded by England batsman Malan, who posted 65 and shared in a partnership of 81 with opener George Hill for the third wicket. Thereafter, Harry Brook raised a typically forthright 56 not out from 47 balls to finish the job in an unbroken stand of 67 for the fifth wicket with Harry Duke (17 not out) as the visitors eased home with 10.5 overs to spare..

This was the perfect start for recently-appointed managing director of cricket Darren Gough and head coach Ottis Gibson, who have ushered in a new era of positivity and hope following Yorkshire's winter of discontent. The ramifications of the Azeem Rafiq racism row continue to be felt, but at least the focus has now returned to events on the field, and the team demonstrated sound discipline and no little spirit to overcome a Gloucestershire side that fought hard and refused to concede an inch of ground in the first red-ball meeting between the counties in a decade. 

Certainly this was no walk in the park for a Yorkshire side that required 34 overs to wheedle out Gloucestershire's last four batsmen and were then made to graft hard after losing early wickets in their second innings. Highly motivated and persistent in the field, Gloucestershire struck two blows before tea, Adam Lyth holing out to deep fine leg off Matt Taylor and James Wharton losing his off stump to an Ajeet Singh Dale delivery that nipped back off the seam.

Required to score a further 157 from 37 overs in the final session, Malan and Hill calmed any nerves in an assertive alliance of 81. If Gloucestershire's intention was to stifle scoring and apply pressure through slow left armer Zafar, they were made to think again when Yorkshire's third-wicket pair took him to task, plundering 11 runs from the 27th over, sent down from the Bristol pavilion end.

Singh Dale came in for similar treatment, conceding three boundaries in one over as the ball lost its shine and runs began to flow on a placid pitch. 

A lapse in concentration saw Hill chip Singh Dale to cover for 36, while Malan's impressive run-a-ball innings, illuminated by 9 fours and a six, concluded when he hoisted Zafar to Ryan Higgins on the deep square leg boundary with a further 65 runs needed from 22 overs. Yorkshire's century-making hero in the first innings, Brook saw the job through thereafter to further boost his burgeoning reputation.

Gloucestershire had earlier resumed on 253-6, their minimum requirement to bat at least until lunch. Sure enough, Zafar and Bracey extended their partnership without too many scares against a new ball which was just four overs old at the start of play. If Yorkshire expected to meet minimal resistance from the lower middle order and tail, they were quickly disabused of the idea as the seventh wicket pair opened up with a fusilade of cover-driven boundaries.

White rose ambition resided with Matty Fisher and Jordan Thompson but, when these two proved unable to make a breakthrough, skipper Steve Patterson brought himself into the attack and called up the express pace of Pakistani international Haries Rauf. 

His ability to inject genuine pace has afforded Yorkshire's attack an altogether new dimension and he finally broke the partnership with a ball that lured Zafar, bat held away from body, into pushing hard outside off stump end edging to second slip, where Lyth made a problematic catch appear straightforward. Having raised 40 from 98 balls and played his part in a potentially pivotal stand of 104 in 33 overs, Zafar departed with Gloucestershire 160 runs to the good, but with a good deal more work to do.

Sensing an opportunity to impose themselves, Yorkshire made good their breakthrough, striking a second blow eight balls later, Matt Taylor shuffling in front of a straight ball from Patterson and falling lbw for one. Joined by Josh Shaw, Bracey found renewed urgency to go to 150 from 297 balls, a startling pull shot through mid-wicket yielding his 16th boundary and a standing ovation from an appreciative Easter Sunday audience.

Hit full on the helmet and visibly stunned by Rauf the previous evening, Bracey was further discomfited when Yorkshire's new overseas signing struck him a glancing blow on the top of his headwear shortly before lunch. Checked out by medical staff, Gloucestershire's centurion was eventually given a green light to continue, recovering his composure sufficiently to usher his side to the sanctuary of the interval on 333-8, a lead of 184.

Shaw was caught at the wicket off the bowling of Rauf shortly after the restart without adding to his score of 11, after which Bracey took matters into his own hands to bring up his highest first-class score in style. A top-edged pull at the expense of Rauf flew over deep backward square for six, at which point the left-hander surpassed the 156 he made in a match against Glamorgan at Cardiff in 2017. Making a conscious decision to take on Rauf, Bracey pulled a further two short-pitched deliveries for six and then punched a length ball through the covers for four in a costly over that propelled Gloucestershire's lead beyond the 200 mark.

Attempting to force the issue in the next over, Bracey pushed a slower ball from Patterson to short cover to bring overdue relief to the visitors. Bracey's body language as he trudged off suggested Gloucestershire had fallen just short, and so it proved.

 

Day three

James Bracey issued a timely reminder to the England selectors as Gloucestershire held-up Yorkshire's victory charge on day three of the LV=Insurance County Championship match at Seat Unique Stadium in Bristol.

Staring down the barrel of an inside-the-distance defeat when Ryan Higgins was fifth man out with 11 more runs still required to make the white rose county bat again, Gloucestershire were indebted to 24-year-old left-hander Bracey, who registered his second hundred in as many matches this season to permit his team a stay of execution.

The Bristolian scored an assured 112 not out in a defiant innings spanning nearly five hours and dominated stands of 54 and 76 with Ryan Higgins and Tom Lace for the fifth and sixth wickets respectively as Gloucestershire reached the close on 253-6, a lead of 104.

Having posted 376 in their first innings, Yorkshire made sufficient in-roads with the ball on an increasingly benign surface to render themselves favourites to win their first outing of the campaign, but Gloucestershire have served notice that they are no pushovers and the visitors will know they still have work to do if they are to finish the job on the final day. 

Selected for two Tests against New Zealand last summer, Bracey under-achieved in both and has not featured for the three Lions at senior level since. Eager to atone and put himself back in contention, the Gloucestershire Academy is certainly doing his utmost to at least warrant a mention in the selectors' deliberations.

Having ended last year with a century for England Lions in Australia, he opened his domestic account for 2022 with another hundred at Northampton last week as Gloucestershire fought back from a poor start to salvage a draw. His latest march to three figures may not be enough to save his side from defeat here, but his prolonged resilience against a highly-motivated Yorkshire attack is noteworthy nonetheless.

In a mirror image of day one, when new overseas signing Marcus Harris made a hundred on debut and scored two thirds of his team's runs, Bracey held things together as Gloucestershire sought to wipe out a first-innings deficit of 149.

When Harris was tucked up by Steve Patterson and held by Harry Brook at first slip with the score on 37-2, Gloucestershire were heavily dependent upon Bracey. Ben Charlesworth had already been bowled through the gait by a fine delivery from England newbee Matty Fisher, while Graeme van Buuren and Miles Hammond were unable to hang around long enough to build any kind of meaningful stand.

Ryan Higgins played fluently enough in forging a partnership of 54 for the fifth wicket with Bracey, until he was caught at the wicket via an under-edge in the act of cutting Dom Bess, at which point Gloucestershire still trailed.

Struck a forceful blow on the helmet when attempting to pull a short-pitched delivery from the lively Haries Rauf, Bracey recovered following a break of several minutes, during which time he was checked out by medical staff, and then found the support he needed in the form of Lace. These two frustrated Yorkshire no end in an adhesive alliance of 76 for the sixth wicket.

Bracey went to three figures via 172 balls, with 10 fours, removing his helmet and punching the air in jubilation as he reached the milestone shortly after the tea interval. He enjoyed one slice of luck, being dropped on 101 by Adam Lyth at slip off the bowling of Bess. 

Lace had played the role of second fiddle perfectly when he was bowled by Jordan Thompson for 28, by which time the hosts were 62 runs to the good and out of immediate danger. Zafar Gofar, who impressed with the ball on day two, showed that he is more than capable with the bat, keeping Bracey company until the close. The partnership is already worth 42 and he will resume in the morning on 21 not out.

Leading by 107 overnight, Yorkshire further strengthened their position during the morning session. Gloucestershire required 40 minutes to eradicate stubborn lower-order resistance after the visitors resumed their first innings on 338-8, Ajeet Dale eventually mopping up the tail to finish with 4-72. But Patterson an Thompson had already frustrated the hosts in a stand of 26 for the ninth wicket, the former accruing four boundaries in a useful knock of 20. Having served up defiance aplenty in an innings spanning 75 balls, Thompson was visibly disappointed to be left high and dry eight runs short of a half century.

 

Day two

Harry Brook’s fifth first class century guided Yorkshire into a strong position on the second day of the LV= County Championship match against Gloucestershire at the Seat Unique Stadium in Bristol. 

Dropped on 99, the 23-year-old former England Under-19 captain was dismissed for 101 as his side replied the hosts’ first innings score of 227 with 334 for eight to lead by 107. 

Adam Lyth hit 54 and there were useful contributions from Dawid Malan (39), Harry Duke (34), Dom Bess (36) and Jordan Thompson (31 not out) 

But it was Brook, who held the innings together after Yorkshire had slipped to 135 for four, still trailing by 92 runs. His hundred came off 161 balls, with 11 fours and a six. 

Seamers Ajeet Singh Dale and Josh Shaw claimed two wickets each and there was a tidy effort from left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar, who had figures of one for 43 from 18 tight overs as Gloucestershire’s bowlers stuck to their task in warm sunshine. 

Yorkshire have won all four previous matches in which Brook has reached three figures and will be optimistic of keeping the sequence going against opponents still coming to terms with a return to First Division cricket in the Championship. 

Brook needed just one moment of fortune. On the brink of his ton, he edged seamer Ben Charlesworth low to second slip where Tom Lace spilled the chance, diving to his left. 

Yorkshire began the day on 37 without loss and had added only four when George Hill fenced at a short ball from Singh-Dale and edged through to wicketkeeper James Bracey. 

Soon it was 48 for two as James Wharton shouldered arms to a delivery from Ryan Higgins that nipped back off the seam and bowled him for four. 

After a watchful spell, Lyth and Malan looked to increase the scoring rate and both looked in good form on an excellent batting surface. 

Lyth moved to his fifty with a swept boundary off Zafar, having faced 125 deliveries and hit 9 fours and a six. 

But, with the total on 115, the experienced opener drove at a wide ball from Charlesworth and was well caught at slip by the diving Miles Hammond. 

The lunch score was 129 for three. With six runs added, Malan was bowled by Ajeet on the back foot, edging onto his leg stump. 

Brook and Duke needed to rebuild the innings as did so with increasing confidence, putting together a vital partnership of 91 in 29 overs. 

Both might have been run out in a mix-up over a quick single with the total on 146 and Gloucestershire were made to rue not taking either opportunity. 

Brook went on to an 84-ball half-century before Duke, who had played equally well, attempted to dab a ball from Zahar through slip and nicked a catch to Bracey. 

By tea, Yorkshire had reached 239 for five and, with a single added, Gloucestershire took the second new ball. 

It had little effect, Brook picking up a delivery from Higgins over mid-wicket for six as he and the typically positive Bess added 71. 

But Gloucestershire refused to lie down, Shaw striking twice as Bess edged a drive through to Bracey and Brook saw a back foot defensive shot send the ball dribbling onto his stumps. 

Graeme van Buuren had Matt Fisher caught behind to complete an impressive fightback. 

 

Day one

No doubt intent upon making a good first impression, Marcus Harris announced himself in fine style as Gloucestershire flattered to deceive on the opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship First Division match against Yorkshire at Seat Unique Stadium in Bristol.

Arriving just too late to feature in last week's curtain-raiser against Northamptonshire, the 29-year-old Australia Test batter made up for lost time, raising an enormously impressive hundred on debut after Gloucestershire were inserted on a seaming green-top. 

But Yorkshire enjoyed the upper hand, dismissing their hosts for 227 in 78.1 overs.

England paceman Matty Fisher played a starring role, claiming 4-19 from 14.1 overs, while Pakistani all-rounder Haris Rauf, although wayward at times, weighed in with 3-81.

Required to face 15 overs in the early-evening gloom, Yorkshire reached the close on 37 without loss, Adam Lyth (24 not out) and George Hill (3 not out) joining forces to reduce the arrears to 190.

But even the exemplary Fisher was upstaged by Gloucestershire's new overseas hired hand, Harris top-scoring with 136 from 231 balls and dominating stands of 50 with Ben Charlesworth, 41 with Graeme van Buuren and 53 with Miles Hammond for the first, third and fourth wickets respectively.

Forced to shoulder the burden of increased expectation in the absence of Gloucestershire batting mainstay Chris Dent, ruled out by Covid on the eve of the match, the Western Australian did not disappoint.

Picking up where he left off last season at Leicestershire, for whom he averaged 54.58 across eight innings. Negotiating his first competitive knock since featuring for Victoria against Queensland in Melbourne in mid-February, Harris might well have been suffering from ring rust when following a slanting delivery from Haris Rauf and offering a chance on 18. Fortunately for him, Harry Duke applied gloves to ball, but was unable to hold onto what amounted to a presentable chance.

He again erred on 81, giving Dom Bess the charge and diverting an inside edge inches wide of his stumps. Otherwise, Harris demonstrated sound judgment in terms of knowing which deliveries to leave alone, compiling runs in a neat, almost unobtrusive fashion before accelerating and playing with more freedom as conditions warmed up in the afternoon. He went to three figures from 200 balls and accrued a six and 22 fours, the majority of them harvested in the arc between cover and third man.

As well as their overseas player acquitted himself, Gloucestershire's prospects of posting a truly competitive first-innings score on a pitch expected to flatten out as the contest develops, were undermined by the failure of any of their recognised batters to stay with Harris long enough to stage a truly meaningful partnership. In fact, his team-mates managed just 82 runs between them.

Charlesworth at least displayed adhesive qualities in scratching 15 from 72 balls until groping at a delivery outside off stump and being caught at the wicket off Fisher, who then had James Bracey held by Adam Lyth at second slip to effect a double breakthrough shortly before lunch. Steve Patterson then removed van Buuren for 21, Gloucestershire's captain presenting Lyth with a chest-high catch in the act of playing a forcing shot, while Miles Hammond succumbed to temptation once too often, pulling Fisher and holing out to deep fine leg having scored 20.

Harris was in danger of running out of partners as the hosts subsided in the final session, lurching from 155-4 to 183-8. Dropped behind twice earlier in the same over, Ryan Higgins pulled a slower ball from Rauf to short mid-wicket and departed for seven. Tom Lace was pinned lbw by the Pakistani international's next ball and Zafar Gohar took a wild swing at Bess and was comprehensively stumped. When Matt Taylor edged Rauf to third slip, Gloucestershire's hopes of attaining even a solitary batting point appeared in doubt.

Demonstrating typical Yorkshire grit to frustrate his home county, Wakefield-born Josh Shaw hung around long enough for Harris to at least keep Gloucestershire in the game. Respectability had been attained by the time the Australian perished to a top-edged pull, held by Duke off the bowling of Patterson. Fisher then finished things off, having Ajeet Dale held in the gully.

 



Scorecard

Yorkshire won the toss and elected to bowl


Gloucestershire
Marcus Harris | Ben Charlesworth | James Bracey | Graeme van Buuren | Miles Hammond | Ryan Higgins | Thomas Lace | Matthew Taylor | Zafar Gohar | Joshua Shaw | Ajeet Dale |


Yorkshire
Adam Lyth | George Hill | Dawid Malan | Harry Brook | James Wharton | Jordan Thompson | Dominic Bess | Harry Duke | Haris Rauf | Matthew Fisher | Steven Patterson |


Yorkshire win by 6 wickets
 
Gloucestershire second innings
359 all out
Yorkshire second innings
213 - 4

Gloucestershire First Innings How out Runs Minutes Balls 4s 6s
Extras 4b 1lb 4nb 0p 0w 9
Total 227

Fall of wickets

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
50 58 99 152 167 167 178 183 226 227

Bowlers

Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Matthew Fisher 14 6 19 4
Jordan Thompson 15 4 38 0
Haris Rauf 16 2 81 3
Steven Patterson 16 8 43 2
George Hill 4 1 16 0
Dom Bess 13 5 25 1


Yorkshire First Innings How out Runs Minutes Balls 4s 6s
Extras 12b 5lb 22nb 0p 0w 39
Total 376

Fall of wickets

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
41 48 115 135 226 297 308 334 364 376

Bowlers

Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Ryan Higgins 28 9 72 1
Matt Taylor 17 5 56 0
Josh Shaw 18 6 56 2
Zafar Gohar 19 2 45 1
Ajeet Dale 23 5 72 4
Ben Charlesworth 10 1 45 1


Gloucestershire Second Innings How out Runs Minutes Balls 4s 6s
Extras 21b 10lb 2nb 0p 0w 33
Total 359

Fall of wickets

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
4 36 74 84 138 211 315 316 335 359

Bowlers

Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Matthew Fisher 20 4 74 1
Jordan Thompson 23 4 54 1
Steven Patterson 24 9 43 4
Haris Rauf 27 5 96 3
Dom Bess 23 6 61 1


Yorkshire Second Innings How out Runs Minutes Balls 4s 6s
Extras 7b 9lb 2nb 0p 6w 24
Total 213

Fall of wickets

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 30 111 146

Bowlers

Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Ryan Higgins 12 2 41 0
Matt Taylor 10 2 24 1
Ajeet Dale 9 2 30 2
Zafar Gohar 10 0 63 1
Josh Shaw 7 1 33 0
Graeme van Buuren 1 0 6 0