Lancashire v Yorkshire: Roses run chase was ‘bridge too far’ insists Jason Gillespie

Alex Lees and Adam Lyth led Yorkshire's fourth innings run chase, before it was decided the 367 target was beyond the defending champions with 19 overs remaining.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Alex Lees and Adam Lyth led Yorkshire's fourth innings run chase, before it was decided the 367 target was beyond the defending champions with 19 overs remaining. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

JASON GILLESPIE last night defended Yorkshire’s tactics after his Lancashire counterpart Ashley Giles said that he was surprised they did not make more of an effort to go for the win.

Set 367 from a minimum of 71 overs, Yorkshire were 188-0 from 52 overs when hands were shaken on a hard-fought draw.

Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie.
 Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Yorkshire had needed 219 from 30 overs at tea, after which they scored 40 in 11 overs as they decided that the target was just too steep.

Alex Lees finished on 114 and Adam Lyth 63, the draw moving Yorkshire up from third to second in the table, 26 points behind Middlesex with a game in hand.

“We certainly didn’t rule it out (going for the win), but all the feedback we were getting back from the guys in the middle, who were in the best position to gauge, was that it was going to be a really tough ask to chase that total down,” said first team coach Gillespie.

“We were communicating back and forth quite regularly throughout the innings, and they felt that while they were in it was ok, but it was going to be really tough for a new batter to start, and that it was probably going to be a bridge too far.

“They felt that it was going to be tough even if they were in, let alone for the lads coming in subsequently. They were the guys who were in the hot-seat out there, and they felt that there was a lot of uneven bounce and that balls were spitting out of the rough.”

Gillespie said that if Yorkshire had needed “150 with 20 (overs) to go”, instead of 180, they “may well have had a dart”.

He added that “we’re a positive side” who always “want to go for it”.

However, Giles, the Lancashire coach and former England left-arm spinner, thought Yorkshire might have taken more of a punt with wickets in hand.

He admitted that the home side had been fearful watching from the sidelines.

“We were a little bit nervous on the balcony,” said Giles.

“To get to a position when they were none down, I perhaps thought they might have just gone a bit longer.

“But that’s their decision, nothing to do with us, and we’re happy to come out of it with the way we’ve played cricket and a strong draw against a very good team.”

Gillespie felt Yorkshire had actually proved a point to their hosts.

After Lancashire thrashed 162 in 23 overs at the start of day four to set up the match, with 19-year-old Haseeb Hameed becoming the first Lancastrian to score two hundreds in a Roses game, Gillespie said that Yorkshire had done well to repel the home team.

“We’ve made a bit of a statement to Lancashire,” he said.

“They probably played as good cricket as they’ve played all year, and they couldn’t get a wicket going for a win on day four.

“They could not take one Yorkshire wicket.

“That’s a real statement from us, so we’re pleased in that sense.”

Gillespie said he would have “snapped your hand off” had he been offered Yorkshire’s current position at the start of the season.

However, he conceded that improvements must be made – not least to the bowling and body language, with Yorkshire having blown a good position in this match when they leaked 195 in 37.2 overs at the start of day two.

“That morning of day two wasn’t good enough,” said Gillespie.

“We need to adapt quicker to those situations and we need to be better.

“One thing that we identified was that we could have been a lot better with our body language out on the field on that second morning.

“The bowlers have to accept responsibility, but there are 11 lads out there and they need to have good energy levels, good hustle, and they admitted they probably could have been better with regard to that.”

It was a match played in a typically competitive spirit which occasionally seemed to cross the line.

Yorkshire were unhappy when video footage emerged yesterday of Liam Livingstone’s diving catch to dismiss Andrew Hodd on day three, which appeared to cast doubt as to its validity.

Gillespie declined to comment other than to say “it’s a matter for the CLO (cricket liaison officer) and the umpires”, but there was no love lost between the teams.

Hameed, who followed his first innings 114 with an unbeaten 100 before the declaration came half-an-hour before lunch, admitted that Lancashire had been determined not to be “bullied” by Yorkshire, which perhaps betokened an aggressive approach.

Hameed, who also became the youngest Lancashire player to score 1,000 runs in a Championship season, beating Mike Atherton by almost two years, played splendidly for his hundred, as did Lees.

DISPLAY OF THE DAY

ALEX LEES followed his first-innings 85 with 114 not out, made from 169 balls with 15 fours and a six.