YORKSHIRE were hoping to tune up for this evening’s NatWest T20 Blast match at Chester-le-Street with a winning run chase against Durham at Headingley yesterday.
But after the visitors defied them by batting all day skipper Andrew Gale disagreed with Paul Collingwood’s criticism of the pitch.
Durham were fighting a rearguard action once Yorkshire had put on 270 for the first wicket after Collingwood put them in and Gale said he would definitely have batted first had he won the toss.
“It was a good cricket wicket,”
he said. “A few batsmen have made good scores and if bowlers put the ball in the right areas they could take wickets. What more do you want from a pitch?
“It feels like a defeat after dominating the game, but we are top of the league with five games left and I could not have asked for more from the bowlers today.
“A few half chances went down and there was some sloppiness in the field, which can happen when you’ve been in the field so long after enforcing a follow-on.
“The big positive was Adil Rashid’s consistency and his positive mind-set. It’s the best he’s bowled for a few years.
“There are some tired bodies but we have to pick ourselves up for two big Twenty20 games this weekend at Durham and Chesterfield.”
Durham’s top scorer, Michael Richardson, took his average against Yorkshire in championship cricket to 85 and said: “It gives you a bit of confidence knowing you have made runs against the same bowlers before.
“I’ve been a bit out of form and have not made runs after going in following big partnerships.
“I prefer going in under pressure because it narrows the mind.
“We were staring down the barrel and knew we had to bat all day.
“If they had had to score 120 in 15 overs at the end they would have sent Aaron Finch in and given it a go. “The pitch was getting worse.
“It was up and down, but once I got to 30 I felt fairly comfortable.”
Richardson might have to make way for the return of Calum MacLeod for this evening’s crucial Twenty20 match.
Both teams still have a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals by finishing in the top four of the northern group.
With four group games left Yorkshire lie fourth, one point ahead of Durham and Warwickshire with holders Northamptonshire one further adrift.
Yorkshire are determined to atone for what coach Jason Gillespie described as “unacceptable batting”
in the reverse fixture at Headingley nine days ago, when they were all out for 95 to lose by 28 runs.
They will include New Zealander Kane Williamson after his return from the series against Sri Lanka but will also continue to play Aaron Finch in T20 games.