ANDREW GALE last night admitted that Yorkshire do not deserve to be joint leaders of the County Championship on recent form.
Yorkshire share the summit with Lancashire after beating their Roses rivals by 175 runs at Headingley yesterday.
Both clubs have 88 points from six games, with Lancashire in first place by virtue of having one more win. But Gale conceded: “Our form doesn’t warrant us being top of the league.”
The Yorkshire captain added: “We know that we haven’t played that well (this season). We played decent against Surrey, but two guys, Rooty (Joe Root) and Jonny (Bairstow), won us that game really.
“We dug in and won the key periods against Lancashire, and I guess the encouraging thing is that we’re still winning games of cricket when we’re probably not firing throughout the team.
“We’re still searching for an enthralling win like we’ve had in the previous two years when we’ve rolled teams over.”
Yorkshire gained their second win in this year’s tournament after dismissing Lancashire for 173 in pursuit of 349.
Tim Bresnan and Adil Rashid each took four wickets, Bresnan impressing in his first Championship match of the season after a calf injury.
“The encouraging thing is that we found a way (to win),” said Gale, whose side fought back from 29-4 on the opening day.
“If you look at some of the teams that have been successful before us in previous years, such as Durham, that’s what they always did.
“It didn’t matter if they got bowled out for 200; they always found a way to get back in the game.
“If we can get the top-five clicking with the bat, and get David Willey back in the mix with the ball and get back to full strength, then we’ll be in a great position.”
On a day when UKIP leader Nigel Farage paid a flying visit to Headingley to gain support for the Brexit campaign, “out” was most definitely the theme as Yorkshire worked their way through the Lancashire batting.
The visitors resumed on 41-1, needing a further 308 to record their seventh-highest Championship run-chase and the seventh-highest Yorkshire have conceded.
But from the moment that Rashid and Adam Lyth took two wickets in four balls after Gale was forced to turn to spin 20 minutes in due to poor light, the home side were always in the box seat.
Rashid had Haseeb Hameed caught behind as he tried to cut, and Lyth had a driving Luke Procter snaffled at slip by Alex Lees.
It would have been 68-4 but Lyth dropped Steven Croft on four at first slip as he attempted to cut Rashid.
But the Lancashire captain managed only one more run before being bowled off an inside-edge by Bresnan, whom Gale reintroduced as soon as the light improved.
When Bresnan had Alviro Petersen lbw playing across his front pad, Lancashire were 98-5.
Yorkshire did not have everything their own way after the break as Karl Brown and Liam Livingstone extended their sixth-wicket stand to 63 in 32 overs before Lancashire’s resistance finally wilted.
First, Livingstone pulled a Rashid long-hop down the throat of deep mid-wicket and then Tom Bailey top-edged another Rashid half-tracker straight up in the air to the wicketkeeper.
Both wickets were giveaways just before the second new ball, which duly made light work of the rest of the batting.
Bresnan had Neil Wagner strangled down the leg-side and then took the important wicket of Karl Brown, caught at short-cover for the top score of 51 from 153 balls. Rashid rounded things off by trapping Karl Jarvis for a duck to finish with 4-17 from 14.4 overs.
Lancashire’s last five wickets fell for 12 runs in 10 overs in a collapse that suggested they may struggle to remain in such a lofty league position.
Gale concluded: “Bowling-wise, I thought it was our best performance this year.
“There’s obviously still areas we can improve, particularly with the bat, but it’s not due to a lack of work ethic.
“It’s frustrating because the lads are really putting a shift in in the nets and working hard to get it right, myself included.
“We’ve just been finding ways of getting out and been a bit hit and miss.”
Gale will have an injection on Friday after carrying a wrist injury that has got progressively worse.
He hopes to play some second team cricket before Yorkshire’s next Championship match, against Durham at Chester-le-Street on June 20.
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