Yorkshire 438 off 114.2 overs (JA Leaning 123, TT Bresnan 100*, JM Bairstow 50, SA Patterson 42, AZ Lees 34; PD Trego 4-73, C Overton 3-74) and 419 off 146.4 overs (AU Rashid 99, JM Bairstow 66, JA Leaning 52, SA Patterson 44, WMH Rhodes 40; JG Myburgh 3-57, C Overton 3-73); drew with Somerset 485 off 102.4 overs (TLW Cooper 99, JC Hildreth 82, TB Abell 62, ME Trescothick 56, J Overton 50, JG Myburgh 41, J Allenby 31, C Overton 31*) and 6-1 off 2 overs. Somerset 12 points, Yorkshire 13 points.
An enthralling game of cricket eventually petered out into a tame draw midway through the final day at Taunton with both Somerset and Yorkshire walking away from the County Ground with honours even.
After the heroics of the Overton twins on day three, the game was nicely set up for an exciting finale in front of a decent crowd in fine sunshine. Ultimately though, an increasingly flat pitch was the only winner as only six wickets fell in the course of the day and Yorkshire batted out most of the day.
Yorkshire could have been criticised for not setting a sporting declaration, but they have had their fingers burnt in a final day run chase before at Taunton and will have been only too aware how difficult it was becoming to take wickets on this surface the longer the game went on.
Captain Marcus Trescothick was left to rue what might have been, but could take some genuine positives from the game, not least the form of the Overtons and the way that all the Somerset top order had contributed with the bat in the first innings, notably Tom Cooper, making his first sizable score for the club.
Trescothick also declared himself extremely satisfied with his side’s bowling performance which he described as “outstanding on this pitch”.
Yorkshire resumed in the morning on 171-5 from 68 overs after an unbroken 54-run partnership from Jonny Bairstow (33* overnight) and Adil Rashid (23*) had arrested Somerset’s momentum late on the third evening.
With the new ball not far away, it was important that Somerset made some early breakthroughs if they were to set up a potentially exciting run chase on the final afternoon.
However, Bairstow and Rashid carried on where they had left off on Tuesday evening, curbing some of their natural attacking instincts and occupying the crease. Bairstow brought up his half century with a boundary through mid-wicket off Alfonso Thomas, his runs coming off 110 balls and including 8 fours.
In all, just one wicket fell in the morning session, effectively consigning the match to a draw. Bairstow was the man to go, looking to drive a wider ball from Thomas and being caught behind by Alex Barrow for 66. It was the Yorkshire keeper’s second half-century of the match and came off 138 balls with 11 boundaries.
First innings centurion Tim Bresnan came to the wicket at 234-6 to join Rashid and the two stayed together to see the total onto 275-6 from 99 overs by lunch, by which time Rashid was unbeaten on 71 and Bresnan 16 not out. With the lead now 228, the draw was almost inevitable, unless wickets fell quickly after the break.
The seventh wicket pair saw the total onto 323, but in the 13th over after lunch Bresnan was LBW to Johann Myburgh who had been brought into the attack from the River End.
The part-time off-spinner struck again four overs later when Rashid became the second batsman in the match to fall on 99 when he was caught by Thomas at fine leg with the total 331-8 and the lead now 284.
Rashid had occupied the crease for an invaluable four hours, faced 198 balls and hit 12 boundaries. It was a valiant effort and one which will help remind the England selectors of his all-round ability.
Somerset had one more success before tea when Liam Plunkett (21) was run out after being sent back by Jamie Overton at deep mid-on, which saw the visitors on 355-9.
Steven Patterson and Jack Brooks then set about proving that they were no pushovers at numbers ten and eleven and occupied the crease in an extremely frustrating stand of 64 in 23.4 overs.
In truth though, the Yorkshire lead was already far too much for Somerset to chase down in the time available and both sides were merely seeing out time.
Rather than wear out his strike bowlers unnecessarily, Trescothick turned to the part-time options of Myburgh, Cooper and – for the first-time in a Championship game – Tom Abell.
With both sides taking their time – including the slightly ridiculous sight of a drinks break a few minutes before the tea break (delayed because nine wickets had fallen) – Yorkshire went into the final session on 408-9 from 145 overs, a lead of 361.
Romantics might have hoped for a sporting declaration at this stage to allow James Hildreth time to score the 85 runs he needed to reach 1,000 first-class runs before the end of May, but it was not to be.
The Yorkshire innings continued for a further 10 balls until Brooks (24) was caught by Barrow off the bowling of Abell – his first first-class wicket. Taunton CC supporters will not have been surprised of course to see Abell turning his arm over – the opening batsman has a best of 4-19 for the Taunton Vale club.
Meanwhile Patterson remained unbeaten on 44. He had done a sterling job for his side, batting for 101 minutes and facing 106 balls with seven boundaries. Yorkshire were finally all out for 419, a lead of 372.
Myburgh finished the innings with 3-57 from his 28 overs, 10 of which were maidens. It was one of his best performances with the ball for Somerset and one which belied his status as a part-timer. Given the turn and bounce he achieved on day four however, observers were left wondering what Abdur Rehman – or George Dockrell – might have made on this surface. Craig Overton also took three wickets for 73 off 24 overs, including three maidens.
There was just time for two overs before 5pm when, under the current rules, the captains could shake hands. Trescothick hit a boundary off the first over from Bresnan before becoming Glenn Maxwell’s first wicket for Yorkshire when he was caught by Plunkett at mid-wicket. Somerset closed on 6-1 and took 12 points to Yorkshire’s 13. They now lie sixth in the table after five games.
Somerset’s next Championship match is away to current Division One leaders at Chester-le-Street, a challenging fixture given the form Durham are in at present. Lewis Gregory is expected to return for that game, after the hotly-debated decision to rest him for this match.
Afterwards, Trescothick said: “It was nice to get ourselves into a position to try to win the game. I thought we performed fairly well throughout the course of the game and in particular our bowling was outstanding on the pitch we played on.
Picking out one or two individuals the skipper said: “It’s been a tough start for Tom Cooper so it was nice to see him spend a bit of time at the crease and showing the sort of player he has been for teams back in Australia and other parts of the world.
Regarding the Overton twins, the captain said: “We have seen them a few times before and it’s good when they get together, Jamie smacking it to all parts and Craig playing positively like he did last week at Trent Bridge. They enjoy batting together, clearly and bowled well together in partnership and we know how good a prospect they are with both bat and ball.
“We got a draw against the champions and I think that is a good sign for us. They are a very strong outfit and I thought that we gave it a very good go and that’s testament to the way the guys put it in.”
He added: “The game was only probably safe half an hour after lunch but had we got one or two wickets this morning it could have been different.”
Meanwhile Director of Cricket Matt Maynard expanded upon the issue of Abdur Rehman’s registration. Counties are only permitted to have two registered overseas players at any one time, so Maynard had to de-register Rehman in order for Chris Gayle and Sohail Tanvir to play in the NatWest Blast against Essex on Friday. In addition, the rules stipulate that counties must wait 21 days between re-registering a player and picking him again.
Maynard explained the predicament this left him in ahead of the match with Yorkshire: “If we had played Abdur in this game and then deregistered him, he would not have been available to play against Nottinghamshire here (on June 14),” Maynard said. “I think Yorkshire are more comfortable against the spinners than Notts so we decided he would miss this game. It’s daft, I know, but those are the rules.”