Cricket: Essex draw as last-wicket pair extend innings
PUBLISHED: 16:40 06 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:40 06 June 2019
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Essex were indebted to last-wicket pair Peter Siddle and Sam Cook for completing a partnership of 86 at the start of day four as they ended Yorkshire's slim hopes of a Specsavers County Championship victory at Emerald Headingley.
Siddle and Cook had come together late on day three with Essex 223-9 replying to Yorkshire's first-innings 390 and needing to reach 241 to avoid the follow-on.
Australian Siddle hit two sixes to avoid that threat, severely hampering Yorkshire's chances of victory.
At the start of day four, the hosts still had a slim chance of a win. But the pair, who united for 25 overs in all, advanced the visitors from 252-9 to 309 all out in the first 70 minutes of the day.
Siddle finished with 60 off 119 balls, his best score in his second season as Essex's overseas player, while Cook's career best unbeaten 37 off 74 included a pulled six off Ben Coad.
When Yorkshire started their second innings, they led by 81 with 76 overs remaining in the day.
They had later reached 107-1 from 42.5 overs when rain forced tea five minutes early, leading by 188. There was no more play possible.
Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance had shared an unbroken 106, with Lyth unbeaten on 56 and Ballance 51 not out.
The latter was on course for his sixth hundred in as many Championship matches, dating back to last season. The Yorkshire record is Len Hutton's seven in as many matches in 1947 and 1948.
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Earlier, Siddle reached his fifty off 82 balls before he was trapped lbw by Steve Patterson to wrap up Essex's first innings.
New ball seamer Jamie Porter had Will Fraine caught at first slip for a seven-ball duck in the third over of Yorkshire's second innings, leaving the score at one for one. And from there, the game drifted.
Lyth and Ballance advanced calmly against some tight bowling, although the former did pulled a short ball from off-spinner Simon Harmer over the deep mid-wicket boundary for six midway through the afternoon to move into the thirties (60 for one in the 26th over).
Porter limped off the field five balls into his 10th over, just as Yorkshire's lead moved beyond 150.
Lyth and Ballance reached their fifties within five minutes of each other deep into the evening, off 128 and 105 respectively.
Tea was then brought forwards by light rain, which became torrential through the tea interval. When hail took over, there was absolutely no chance of more play and umpires Steve O'Shaughnessy and Neil Mallender called a halt to proceedings at 4.05pm.
Unbeaten Yorkshire remain third with two wins and three draws having taken 11 points, while Essex remain fourth having taken nine. They have won two, drawn two and lost one. The gap between the two sides is six points.
Essex have a free week next week, while Yorkshire, who are 25 points behind leaders Somerset, travel to Guildford on Monday to face champions Surrey, who are yet to win in five games.