Jacques Rudolph and Andrew Gale kill off Lancashire's title hopes

Yorkshire 181 and 354-4; Lancashire 489-5dec
Match drawn

Yorkshire averted what had threatened to be an embarrassing Roses defeat with admirable comfort, the left‑handers Jacques Rudolph and Andrew Gale compiling disciplined centuries to draw the sting from a persevering but uninspiring Lancashire attack.

Having come together late on Sunday with their county 269 behind at 39 for two, they were not separated until well into the last afternoon, with their partnership of 218 setting a record for Yorkshire's third wicket at Old Trafford – previously 141 between Herbert Sutcliffe and Maurice Leyland, a distinguished alliance to eclipse.

The 124th draw from 248 Roses matches allowed Yorkshire to scramble out of the First Division relegation zone, with the single bowling bonus point they collected from the match now separating them from Sussex. However, Martyn Moxon, the county's director of cricket, admits that as the 2007 champions have a game in hand, Yorkshire will have to end their miserably long wait for a first-class win – which now stretches back 21 matches to last June – if they are to survive.

"The good news is the spirit in the side," said Moxon, admitting that the captain, Anthony McGrath, had "strong words" after their slapdash first-innings batting on Friday. "If it wasn't there, we could have crumbled and lost this game. But we've got to cut out the silly spells of cricket that are costing us. It's something we have to get right to get a win in the championship."

A pitch lacking Old Trafford's usual pace or bounce was the only winner, although there was plenty of rough outside the left-handers' off-stump which Lancashire's Yorkshire-born left-arm spinner Gary Keedy was unable to exploit. Sajid Mahmood, leading the attack in the absence of Glen Chapple, was unable to build any pressure and, as in the first innings, Tom Smith was the pick of the attack.

He nipped one back to trap Gale lbw for 121 from 173 balls, continuing a prolific run for the stylish 25-year-old from the Heavy Woollen district who has bounced back impressively after a lean start to the season. That was Smith's eighth wicket of the match, a career-best for the strapping seamer from Chorley, but Rudolph grafted on to 127 before Keedy claimed his first, having the South African snapped up at leg-slip in his 37th over. Rudolph is Yorkshire's leading run-scorer with 894 at an average of almost 50 but he had managed only 70 from his last six innings since his century at Taunton in June, so this was a timely return to form.

Jonathan Bairstow came through a nervous start to reach his fourth half-century in six championship matches before a convenient shower allowed the draw to be agreed at 4.40pm. Lancashire remain fourth but their inability to force a win removes any hopes they had of catching Durham – and leaves them glancing anxiously over their shoulders at the relegation battle.

Contributor

Andy Wilson at Old Trafford

The GuardianTramp

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