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Yorkshire centurion Anthony McGrath is young at heart
11:39am Saturday 19th May 2012 in Sport
VETERAN batsman Anthony McGrath was delighted to prove his doubters wrong as a superb unbeaten century hauled Yorkshire back into their LV= County Championship clash with Hampshire.
The 36-year-old was 106 not out when the Tykes declared on 399-9 in the division two match at Headingley in reply to Hampshire’s 427 all out.
When McGrath strode to the crease on day three, the Tykes were struggling to avoid the follow-on.
It was McGrath’s first century since he made 115 against the same opponents 18 months ago. The fact that it came 17 years to the day that he made his debut for the county was not lost on the right-hander either.
He said: “I’m trying to tell people that I’m still young.
“It is satisfying to reach three figures with the troubles I had last year, but the most important thing is that we’ve fought our way back into the game.”
McGrath’s pleasure in his innings was totally justified.
Without McGrath’s innings, Yorkshire would be in serious trouble in this fixture.
After Phil Jaques (93) and Gary Ballance (76) had been dismissed, he entered the match with the Tykes still 97 runs short of the follow-on target on 181-4.
This looked further away shortly after when Gerard Brophy (22) and Adil Rashid (3) were both dismissed, before the fight back began in earnest when Ryan Sidebottom came to the middle.
A tricky 41 runs were still needed to avoid having to bat again at that stage, but with McGrath in full flow by then, the pair quickly passed the target of 278.
Sidebottom fell just after, but with the Tykes still more than 100 runs behind Hampshire, Steve Patterson was the next to lend his helping hand.
The 350 mark was passed to bring up a fourth batting bonus point, before McGrath brought up his century off 180 balls.
Shortly after the declaration came, with Iain Wardlaw also not out on 17, giving Yorkshire ten overs to bowl at their visitors.
They got the breakthrough they wanted as well – with Adil Rashid ousting Liam Dawson for eight when he slashed one to Jaques at point.
It means Hampshire will head into the final day with a lead of 49 runs on 21-1.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire are in Clydesdale Bank 40 action tomorrow when Derbyshire visit Headingley (1.45pm start).
The White Rose county are hopeful that overseas signing Mitchell Stark will be able to make his debut.
The Australian fast bowler returned to England this week after being sent home to resolve an issue with his visa.
The 22-year-old has been put through his paces at Headingley during the Hampshire fixture.