CENTURION Jacques Rudolph flayed Nottinghamshire all around Headingley yesterday to give Yorkshire a fantastic chance of saving their LV County Championship match against their title rivals.

But then the South African flat-batted questions about his future at the club amid reports emanating from his homeland that he is ready for a return to international cricket this winter.

After scoring a superb 141 off 241 balls, including 19 boundaries, he said: “At the moment, I’m still contracted by Yorkshire. I don’t want to comment on it further, I’m still contracted for next season.”

Rudolph has one year left on his Yorkshire deal and, as things stand, would qualify under the ever-changing Kolpak regulations to fulfil that.

The last of his 35 Tests was in August 2006 against Sri Lanka, in Colombo, while he has also played 45 one-day internationals and one Twenty20 international.

Looking at a mammoth deficit of 369 runs, Rudolph notched his 16th four-day century in a White Rose shirt to help his side to a second innings score of 272-2 from 89 overs at close on day three.

The left hander, typically proficient in every area, shared a second wicket partnership of 211 inside 75 overs with Anthony McGrath, who hit 78 not out off 253 balls.

“In the context of the game, the partnership with McGrath was very important,” continued Rudolph. “We’re still in with a good chance. We weren’t as good as we should have been in the first two days, and Notts out-played us, but we’ve had a great fight-back.”

It was a shame that Rudolph fell in the latter stages of the day, caught by Andre Adams at gully, off the bowling of Darren Pattinson to leave the score at 269-2 in the 88th over. While Rudolph passed 13,000 first-class career runs yesterday, and 1,000 in the Championship for the fourth year running, McGrath also closed in on four figures for the summer. He is 22 away.

The former captain, unlike Rudolph, had to battle for fluency on a flat and slow pitch.

Nottinghamshire’s only other success was when Paul Franks had Adam Lyth brilliantly caught one handed by Adams in the gully for 37 during the morning session.

But Rudolph was dropped on 100 by Ally Brown at slip off the bowling of left arm spinner Samit Patel late in the afternoon.

McGrath only hit eight boundaries in his four and a half-hour stay at the crease.

Steve Patterson will resume with him as night-watchman this morning.

Rudolph added: “In the context of the situation, he (Mc- Grath) played the perfect innings.

We didn’t want him to be 100 off a similar strike-rate and get out. He’s still got a lot of hard work to do.”

The day started with Australian David Hussey finishing on 251 not out off 250 balls as the visitors declared their first innings 545-7 declared.

Hussey’s score is the highest ever against Yorkshire at Headingley.


Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire At Headingley Carnegie

Overnight: Yorkshire 178. Nottinghamshire 497-6 (D J Hussey 222 no, S RPatel 96, M J Wood 59, P J Franks 57 no).

Nottinghamshire First Innings

D J Hussey not out..............................251

P J Franks c Bairstow b Shahzad ........61

A R Adams not out ............................13

Extras (b5 lb5 w3 nb2 pens 0)15

Total 7 wkts dec (117 overs).545

Fall: 1-22 2-52 3-97 4-281 5-395 6-400 7-511

Did Not Bat: R J Sidebottom, D J Pattinson.

Bonus Pts: Yorkshire 2 Nottinghamshire 8

Bowling: Shahzad 21-1-115-2. Patterson 29-3-110-3. Hannon-Dalby 22-1-104-1. A U Rashid 23-0-104-1. Wainwright 11-1-57-0.

McGrath 10-1-32-0. Lyth 1-0-13-0.

Yorkshire Second Innings Close

A Lyth c Adams b Franks ....................37

J A Rudolph c Adams b Pattinson ..141

A McGrath not out ............................78

S A Patterson not out ..........................3

Extras (b6 lb2 w1 nb4 pens 0)13

Total 2 wkts (91 overs)..........272

Fall: 1-58 2-269

To Bat: A W Gale, J M Bairstow, G L Brophy, A U Rashid, A Shahzad, D J Wainwright, O J Hannon-Dalby.

Bonus Pts: Yorkshire 2 Nottinghamshire 8

Bowling: Sidebottom 16-5-34-0. Pattinson 11-0-56-1. Franks 16-3-46-1. Adams 20-8- 42-0. S R Patel 24-0-75-0. Hussey 4-0-11-0.