YORKSHIRE captain Andrew Gale last night revealed that he declined an approach from Somerset’s Marcus Trescothick to set up a day four run chase in the opening LV= County Championship match at Taunton, which finishes today.
A strong Somerset batting performance yesterday led by Johann Myburgh’s 91 means the hosts head into day four on 530-9 from 153 overs in reply to Yorkshire’s first-innings 450.
The docile nature of the pitch means a draw is the odds-on favourite by some distance, although the White Rose county are not completely out of the woods just yet.
The most likely way of a positive result being gained for either side is via a contrived finish. However, quite understandably, that does not appeal to Gale and his team-mates.
An eleven-point haul for a draw is by no means a disaster, and there are still 15 matches left in a long season.
The three heavy defeats in Championship matches here in 2009, 2010 and 2011 when Somerset chased down targets with some authority are not easy to forget for Gale, who played in two of them.
In 2009 and 2010, the Somerset wins were both on the back of Yorkshire declarations in their second innings.
“Tres asked at tea, but I’ve been scarred enough on this ground in the past,” said Gale. “We won’t be setting anything up.”
Somerset began day three on 166-3 and still in danger of not avoiding the follow-on by reaching 301 - although Yorkshire would not have enforced it anyway.
They actually reached that total with little trouble as their day was built around Myburgh, a career best 69 for Lewis Gregory, 67 for James Hildreth and 63 for Craig Kieswetter.
Myburgh and Kieswetter shared 112 for the sixth wicket inside 32 overs before Myburgh and Gregory, who played an aggressive hand, added 100 inside 21 for the seventh.
Yorkshire actually bowled better than the score at the end of the day suggests in conditions offering very little help for the bowlers.
Liam Plunkett and Kane Williamson’s useful off-spinners accounted for two wickets apiece, with the former finishing with 4-108 from 26 overs as Yorkshire missed out on two bowling bonus points.
There was noticeable turn for Williamson, but little - if any - swing or seam for the quicks. Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Patterson were still at their metronomic best.
"It was a tough day," added Gale, who saw Somerset pass 500 in an innings for the first time since 2012. "On reflection, I actually thought we bowled alright. I can't ask any more from the lads really.
“We bowled in good areas for long periods, and on another occasion we could have bowled them out for 300 or 350. Fair play to Somerset for showing the patience they did.
"Our plan was to keep asking questions all day and out-patient them if you like. I thought we did that. Apart from Gregory playing a few shots, I thought we controlled the run-rate, showed plenty of energy in the field, and the bowlers toiled well.
"They probably performed under par as a batting line-up last year. But, by no means, did I think it was going to be easy. I thought we might have had a bit more luck."
Overnight: Yorkshire 450 (A U Rashid 108, A
Lyth 85, G S Ballance 77, AJ Hodd 55). Somerset
166-3 (C R Jones 75).
Somerset First Innings Close
A N Petersen c Hodd b Williamson .......24
J C Hildreth lbw b Brooks ....................67
C Kieswetter c Lyth b Williamson ........63
J G Myburgh lbw b A U Rashid ............91
L Gregory c Hodd b Plunkett ...............69
C A Meschede not out .......................45
A C Thomas c Hodd b Plunkett ............ 1
C Overton not out ............................. 7
Extras (b14 lb6 nb16 pens 0) ......36
Total 9 wkts (153 overs)...............530
Fall: 1-36 2-127 3-136 4-208 5-252 6-364
7-464 8-490 9-496
Bowling: Sidebottom 27-11-54-1. Brooks
23-4-92-1. Patterson 29-10-61-0. Plunkett
26-1-108-4. A U Rashid 27-2-127-1. Lyth 6-
1-23-0. Williamson 15-3-45-2.