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Gary Ballance fires second ton as Yorkshire draw Championship clash with Surrey
At the end of surely the most memorable week of his cricket career, Gary Ballance became the first Yorkshire batsman for six years to score a century in each innings of an LV= County Championship match as he helped Andrew Gale’s side conclude their season with a hard-fought draw against Surrey at The Oval.
Ballance, who on Monday was selected for England’s Ashes party to tour Australia, followed his first innings 148 with an unbeaten 108 as Yorkshire made 265-6 in their second innings, wiping out a deficit of 200 and prompting Surrey skipper Gareth Batty to accept the draw early in the last hour.
The 23-year-old left-hander shared stands of 65 with skipper Gale and an unbroken partnership of 67 with Adil Rashid to steer his team to safety and become the 13th Yorkshire batsman to register a hundred in both innings of a first-class match.
“It’s a great feeling to score a hundred in each innings and to finish the season well,” said Ballance.
“I haven’t considered batting for England, I’ve just thought about building an innings and luckily it came off both times.”
However, the safety Ballance and Rashid achieved was in sharp contrast to the trouble Yorkshire found themselves in at the midpoint of the morning session when the White Rose’s second innings had begun poorly and got worse.
Adam Lyth was caught at second slip by Vikram Solanki off the bowling of Tim Linley for only four and then Phil Jaques played on to Matt Dunn for one when attempting a drive.
That left Gale’s side on 11-2 in the sixth over, but worse was to come 11 balls later when Alex Lees was caught behind by Davies off Linley for 11.
From 21-3, however, Yorkshire recovered to 67-3 at lunch with York’s Jonny Bairstow batting fluently on 29 and Kane Williamson undefeated on 18, Bairstow having earlier taken four successive boundaries off seamer Tom Jewell.
After the break, Yorkshire lost Bairstow for 35 when the England batsman played back to Tom Linley and was adjudged lbw by Ian Gould.
There followed a relatively secure 49-run stand between Williamson and Ballance, but any thoughts that Yorkshire’s survival would be straightforward were quickly dispelled when the New Zealander was surprised by a ball from Batty and ballooned a catch off the shoulder of the bat to Vikram Solanki running round from slip.
That left Yorkshire on 133-5 and, by tea, Ballance and Andrew Gale had extended that to 170-5, leaving Yorkshire still with a deficit of 30 runs and five wickets in hand.
By then, though, Ballance was batting with the quiet authority Yorkshire supporters have come to know so well and the vast majority of his 15 fours and two sixes were perfectly executed.
In the first hour of the day, Surrey had added 62 runs to their overnight score of 572-4 for the loss of Dominic Sibley, who was yorked by Ryan Sidebottom for 242, scored off 596 balls with 24 boundaries and two sixes.
Rashid’s 55 overs cost 227 runs, the most ever conceded by a Yorkshire bowler in a single innings.
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