JASON GILLESPIE hailed Yorkshire’s come-from-behind LV= County Championship win over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road, completed by a massive 271-run margin, as one of the very best.
The county’s coach saw his side claim 19 points to move to the top of division one having been bowled out for 136 during Saturday’s first day.
Yorkshire, who could be replaced at the top depending on other results, needed seven wickets during the final day, which Northants started at 66-3 in pursuit of 432. They were bowled out for 160 in the early stages of the afternoon session.
Liam Plunkett enhanced his claims for an England Test recall with a season’s best haul of 4-42 from 14.1 overs, with all four of his wickets coming on the final day.
"It was a massive performance in terms of character from our players," said Gillespie.
"From 136 all out in 40 overs on day one with the ball nipping around - and we didn't bowl particularly well ourselves on day one even though we created enough opportunities - I thought our cricket was incredible.
"It's one of the best wins I've seen for a long time in any cricket.
“We saw earlier this season that Lancashire came here and were bowled out for 119 and managed to go on and win the game, and that was an impressive performance. We've matched that.
"If you want to challenge for the top two or three spots, you need to put in performances like that and bounce back from poor sessions, poor hours and poor days.
"I can't speak highly enough of the lads. Andrew Gale asked the lads to show some fight and find a way to get back into the game. They certainly did that. I can't be prouder of them.”
Tim Bresnan (3-46 from 16) gave Yorkshire the perfect start with a wicket with the first ball of the day, Matt Spriegel trapped lbw offering no shot as Northants slipped to 66-4. From then on, the writing was on the wall.
The bulk of the credit for this win should go to openers Adam Lyth and Alex Lees, whose opening partnership of 375 in the second innings turned this game on its head in spectacular fashion.
But Plunkett was outstanding again as he continued his eye-catching early season form in front of England selector Angus Fraser. The first Test against Sri Lanka is at Lord’s a week on Thursday.
He had Andrew Hall caught in the covers after an aborted pull shot against a short ball, Ben Duckett caught behind, Rob Newton caught at first slip and tail-ender Maurice Chambers bowled to wrap up the win.
Plunkett bowled with searing pace on an increasingly decent batting track, and was particularly dangerous from around the wicket against the right-handers.
This was Yorkshire’s third Championship win from seven matches and their second over Northants after an innings victory at Headingley.
Their next Championship match is against Nottinghamshire at Headingley on Sunday, although their next cricket comes against Lancashire in the NatWest T20 Blast at Emirates Old Trafford on Friday.
Andrew Flintoff is in contention to make his comeback to cricket for Lancashire after nearly five years away. Ryan Sidebottom will not play in either match due to his left hamstring injury.
LV= County Championship
Northamptonshire v Yorkshire
Yorkshire First Innings 136 (I G Butler 4-41)
Northamptonshire First Innings 251 (J D Middlebrook 70, B M Duckett 51; J A
Yorkshire Second Innings 546-3 dec (A Lyth 230, A Z Lees 138, A J Finch 63, J A Leaning 52).
Northamptonshire Second Innings
S D Peters c Lyth b Bresnan 23
J D Middlebrook c Bairstow b Bresnan 6
D J G Sales lbw b Brooks 0
M N W Spriegel lbw b Bresnan 14
R I Keogh c Bairstow b Brooks 25
R I Newton c Finch b Plunkett 33
A J Hall c Lees b Plunkett 24
B M Duckett c Bairstow b Plunkett 10
I G Butler lbw b A U Rashid 0
M A Chambers b Plunkett 10
Azharullah not out 2
Extras (lb7 nb6) 13
Total (61.1 overs) 160
Fall: 1-31 2-32 3-32 4-66 5-78 6-109 7-135 8-148 9-158.
Bowling: Bresnan 16-2-46-3, Brooks 16-4-41-2, Patterson 9-4-18-0, Plunkett 14.1-2-42-4, A U Rashid 6-0-16-1.
Northampton Yorkshire (19pts) beat Northamptonshire (5pts) by 271 runs