YORKSHIRE coach Jason Gillespie admitted that his players had paid the price for their poor bowling on Tuesday evening after Middlesex completed their astonishing seven-wicket defeat of Joe Root’s team on Wednesday afternoon.
Led by skipper Chris Rogers, who made a quite brilliant 241 not out, the home side scored 472-3, thereby completing what was the County Championship’s third-highest successful run-chase in great comfort, but Gillespie conceded that the seeds of Middlesex’s epic victory had been sown by his own bowlers’ deficiencies.
“It’s very simple, we just weren’t disciplined with our lines and lengths on Tuesday evening and that’s something we pride ourselves on,” he said.
“Middlesex played pretty positively and looked to put us on the back foot but our efforts were pretty poor and our bowlers won’t mind me saying that.
“There were far too many half-volleys and far too many short and wide deliveries. I’m hoping that our bowlers will take stock and learn from it. Today they were much better.
“Joe Root will be hurting now but that will stand him in good stead if he has captaincy aspirations. We’ve had a bit of a chat in the dressing room and we now have to regroup for the match against Durham. All I ask is that we learn from the things that we do well but also learn from the occasions when we don’t get it right.”
Gillespie’s criticisms of his attack are perfectly valid but what was remarkable about yesterday’s cricket was the composure with which Rogers and his colleagues went about their business and the ease with which they accomplished the task.
The two wickets taken by the Yorkshire bowlers seemed little more than minor interruptions in a morning and early afternoon which was dominated by the powerful driving and wristy cutting of Rogers, who hit 37 boundaries in his superlative display.
Resuming on 230-1, Middlesex lost Dawid Malan, who was lbw on the front foot to Ryan Sidebottom having added just seven runs to his overnight 28 not out. Around an hour later Eoin Morgan was caught at slip for 35 by Adam Lyth when a ball from off-spinner Kane Williamson looped into the air, very probably off the batsman’s glove.
Neil Dexter then joined Rogers and made 72 not out in an unbroken stand of 145 for the fourth wicket as the game ended in a flurry of boundaries.
Yet even when Yorkshire players have learned the hard lessons from yesterday’s defeat, they will surely acknowledge the quality of the innings played by Rogers at a sunlit home of cricket.
Middlesex’s managing director of cricket Angus Fraser said that he could not recall a better innings from one of his county’s batsmen and Gillespie broadly concurred in that assessment.
“It was a fantastic knock and sometimes you have to take your hat off to the opposition,” he said. “Our bowlers gave it their all today but we just didn’t get our skills right earlier in the innings.”