A combination of courageous batting by Northamptonshire and bad light frustrated Yorkshire in their victory bid on the final day of their LV County Championship match at Headingley yesterday.
The 11 points from the draw pushed Yorkshire into second place in the Second Division table but it was still a big disappointment for the home sidethat they could not sweep aside their opponents and notch a third win of theseason.
Northamptonshire were 250 for six and leading by 118 when the umpires brought the players off, despite Yorkshire having two spinners on at the time.
The two not out batsmen were David Murphy (31) and Con de Lange (20) who had denied Yorkshire for 18 overs while adding 52 together.
Northamptonshire still trailed by 120 when they resumed the final day on43 for one and only four had been added in almost half an hour when StephenPeters drove at Steve Patterson and deflected the ball on to his stumps.
Yorkshire had to wait for the light to improve before they dared tounleash their Australian fast bowler, Mitchell Starc, but it was the introduction of off-spinner, Azeem Rafiq, which ended a troublesome stand that haddeveloped between Kyle Coetzer and Alex Wakely.
Coetzer, having battled away for two hours for his 39, gave a bat andpad chance which was snapped up by Joe Root at short leg.
There was no sign of Northants throwing in the towel, however, and RobWhite showed plenty of confidence in helping Wakely to take the visitors in to lunch on 120 for three with the morning's honours just about evenly shared.
The struggle continued in the afternoon but Wakely suddenly relievedpressure on the batting side by off-driving Rafiq cleanly for six.
Yorkshire needed a breakthrough and it came when their lead had beenwhittled down to just three runs, White being bowled for 42 playing over a ballfrom the patient Patterson. In the same over, skipper Andrew Hall put his side inthe black by finding the square leg boundary.
Wakely completed his half-century with a Chinese cut for four off Starcbut soon afterwards the same bowler got some lift to a delivery which leftHall and he was caught behind by Jonny Bairstow.
Starc gave Yorkshire renewed hope by striking again, this time bowlingthe obstinate Wakely with a quick one which breached his defences. He hadbatted three hours and 22 minutes for his 66 which came off 144 balls withseven fours and a six.
New batsman De Lange appeared to survive a sharp return catch to Rafiq,who had come on for a stint from the pavilion end, and Northants went in to teaon 205 for six and leading by 42 with a minimum of 37 overs remaining.
Soon after the interval, Yorkshire had two chances off consecutive balls but both went begging.
First, De Lange swung Rafiq wide of mid-on and Starc was unable to getinto position for the catch, the ball just brushing his fingers. The batsmenran two and then De Lange played off bat and pad and Gary Ballance could notquite hold on as he dived on to the pitch from silly point.
Yorkshire took the new ball as soon as it became available but two foursoff Ryan Sidebottom to the vacant third man by Murphy lifted the Northants'lead to 70 and the draw became inevitable once the light deteriorated even further.