Williamson and Bairstow nudge Yorkshire back into contention

Kane Williamson helped Yorkshire back into their crucial clash against Sussex at North Marine Road. Pictures by Andy Standing.

Kane Williamson helped Yorkshire back into their crucial clash against Sussex at North Marine Road. Pictures by Andy Standing.

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Kane Williamson’s determined attempt to complete his maiden century for Yorkshire in his last home match had to be put on hold at Scarborough when bad light ended play with 15.5 overs remaining on the second day of the LV County Championship clash against Sussex.

The Kiwi had reached 90 and Yorkshire were 258-5 and trailing on the first innings by 110.

Sussex were already comfortably placed on 315 for eight at the start of play and a positive approach by Steve Magoffin and Lewis Hatchett secured them a third batting point in the 104th over when the former played Jack Brooks off his legs for a boundary which moved the score on to 351.

Magoffin survived a fiercely struck return catch to Steven Patterson’s right on 34 and it was the last ball of the 110th over that he departed for a season-best 39 to bring Yorkshire a third bowling bonus point at the last possible opportunity.

He lost his off-bail to a googly from Adil Rashid who wrapped things up in his next over by trapping Matthew Hobden lbw.

The ninth-wicket stand between Magoffin and Hatchett had added 49 valuable runs for Sussex and the pair quickly combined again with the new ball to despatch Yorkshire’s openers with only five on the board.

Adam Lyth stretched to make contact with a loose ball from Hatchett and only succeeded in dragging it into his stumps and Alex Lees was picked up at fourth slip by Ed Joyce to give Magoffin his 52nd wicket of the season.

North Marine Road is generally a happy hunting ground for skipper Andrew Gale and he began at such a cracking pace that at lunch he had made 27 to Williamson’s seven and Yorkshire stood on 38-2.

Upon the resumption, Williamson seemed to have lost his chance of going on to a maiden century when he edged Hatchett to second slip where James Tredwell appeared to take a clean catch above his boot laces.

Williamson, on 16 at the time, began to walk off but delayed his exit while umpires Peter Hartley and Graham Lloyd conferred before bringing him back to the crease.

His reprieve came as a relief for Williamson and most of the 3,400 crowd but eight balls later he lost Gale, who was caught behind by Ben Brown off Magoffin to leave Yorkshire struggling again on 57-3.

The game seemed to be gradually slipping away from the Championship leaders, but Jonathan Bairstow helped to halt the slide with some aggressive batting while Williamson continued on his way at a rather more sedate pace.

Run-scoring became easier with the opening bowlers rested, Matthew Hobden’s first ball being smashed wide of mid-on for four by Bairstow and Steffan Piolet’s initial delivery getting cut to the boundary by Williamson.

Bairstow’s quick dash to 30 took him ahead of Williamson after batting for 15 fewer overs and he galloped to his half-century from 51 balls with nine fours, his partner completing his 50 from 93 deliveries with seven fours.

Yorkshire had moved smartly on to 206-3 at tea, the afternoon session yielding 168 runs, but Hobden’s second ball after the interval accounted for Bairstow lbw and ended an enterprising stand of 149 in 30 overs, the wicket-keeper-batsman’s contribution being 77 off 91 balls with 12 fours.

Williamson continued on his unhurried way after a brief stoppage for bad light but Jack Leaning kept the score ticking over nicely until he chopped Tredwell into his stumps for 33 to leave Yorkshire on 257 for five, Williamson having just entered the 90s with 11 boundaries.

One run later, the light faded again, ending play for the day.