Brilliant Ricardo Vasconcelos century secures dramatic draw for Northants against Yorkshire

Ricardo Vasconcelos and Siddharth Kaul walk off the County Ground field after securing the draw against Yorkshire (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Ricardo Vasconcelos and Siddharth Kaul walk off the County Ground field after securing the draw against Yorkshire (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ricardo Vasconcelos and Siddharth Kaul walk off the County Ground field after securing the draw against Yorkshire (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ricardo Vasconcelos hit a valiant 129 not out as he attempted to power Northants to an unlikely victory over Yorkshire in Monday's Vitality County Championship match which ended in high drama on a see-saw final evening at Wantage Road.

Yorkshire had set up a tantalising run chase of challenging 326 to win in a little over two sessions, and when Vasconcelos warmed up for the T20 Blast campaign with 17 boundaries all around the ground, a home win looked a possibility.

But a dramatic clatter of wickets as Yorkshire’s attack staged a late fightback set nerves jangling in the home dressing room, Vasconcelos had to switch gears to ensure his side held out for the draw, eight wickets down for 250, in an innings full of character and maturity.

“It was a bit of a weird innings," said Vasconcelos.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Ricardo Vasconcelos cracks a four on his way to a superb century against Yorkshire (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Ricardo Vasconcelos cracks a four on his way to a superb century against Yorkshire (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ricardo Vasconcelos cracks a four on his way to a superb century against Yorkshire (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

"Firstly, going for it and really trying to put our foot down, to have to then scale back was quite tough. All my instincts were telling me to take it on, but sometimes you've just got to do it.

“We were willing to risk losing to win, because ultimately, that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to win every game of cricket we play.

"So, we went in there, trying to set the game up, to be able to target a short boundary in the last hour. We said we could go at 10s.

"I think in hindsight, we might have gone a little bit early, but I think we felt good out there.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"And we felt like we were on top. And that was the time to kind of put the throttle on and maybe it was the wrong decision by us. But that's what we did. And we're fine in the end, we’ve got the draw.

“When Lewis (McManus) got out, I think that was the point where we were like, right, let’s take our medicine and try to take the draw and move on to the Blast."We’ve let this go on long enough now, let’s shut up shop."

At 165 for two in the 33rd over with Vasconcelos sharing a quickfire stand of 63 in 55 balls with Karun Nair (36), Northants were set for a potentially enthralling white ball style finish.

But a persistent Yorkshire bowling attack fought back, taking three wickets for 13, and six for 54 in all, as first innings centurion Adam Lyth concluded a memorable 200th Championship match with career best bowling figures of four for 56.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In total, Northants lost seven wickets in the evening session.

Earlier Yorkshire captain Shan Masood (131 not out) declared his side’s innings on 264 for six just before lunch, dangling the carrot of a chase which would have been the 10th highest to beat Yorkshire by any team in its history.

Ultimately though, the loss of 17 overs during two stoppages for rain took too much time out of the game and the captains shook hands shortly after 6.20pm. The draw leaves both sides winless after seven games, Yorkshire taking 14 points and Northamptonshire 13.

Yorkshire struck immediately after the lunch break, when a flat-footed Emilio Gay edged Fernando’s first ball to first slip.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Vasconcelos soon found the boundary, cutting Vishwa Fernando in front of point for four before rain forced the players from the field once more, this time for 55 minutes.

Vasconcelos immediately took the positive route when play resumed, running hard, driving Jordan Thompson down the ground, and smashing him through extra cover, while also showing excellent placement and timing, including a delicate late cut down to third.

Northants went into tea on 94 for one, with Vasconcelos unbeaten on 56, still needing 232 to win in a minimum of 35 overs.

Three overs behind the required over rate, Yorkshire brought on Lyth to speed up proceedings, a move which proved inspired as the part-time spinner struck early in the evening session, snaring Procter (31) who played a loose shot to cover, ending a stand of 89 with Vasconcelos.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tattersall missed an easy chance to run out Nair on four and then a more difficult stumping chance off Lyth when the Indian international was on 16.

Nair quickly made Yorkshire pay, picking up one from Matt Revis and dispatching it over deep midwicket for six and cutting him for four to bring up the half-century stand with Vasconcelos off 44 balls.

Nair’s downfall finally came when he skied one off Revis, Finlay Bean running round to take the catch at short third.

George Bartlett (6) was next to go when he pulled Revis to short midwicket, closely followed by Rob Keogh (3) who chipped the ball back to Lyth for a simple return catch. McManus (6) then swept Lyth to backward square to leave Northamptonshire 192 for six with 134 more needed of 107 deliveries.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Vasconcelos, who had kept motoring on, upper cutting Revis over the keeper’s head for four to go to 98 before moving to his century. But he soon lost another partner when Justin Broad (8) left a Lyth delivery and was adjudged lbw.

Northants then duly shut up shop, with Vasconcelos shepherding the tail.

There was one final moment of drama when Ben Sanderson was struck on the boot by Jordan Thompson, with Northamptonshire 219 for eight with just six overs left, but Siddharth Kaul kept Vasconelos company as they closed out the draw.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.