Gloucestershire cricket: Skippers Gidman and Gale try to contrive positive finish at Bristol
ALEX Gidman has taken a calculated risk to try to secure Gloucestershire's second LV=County Championship win of the season.
The skipper agreed to contrive a finish with Yorkshire counterpart Andrew Gale on the third day of the rain-interrupted fixture at Bristol, which saw the visitors set a target of 400 in a minimum of 111 overs.
Gidman is prepared to risk losing to try to force a victory from a game that seemed doomed to end in a draw.
Yorkshire closed on 30-1 and require a further 370 off 96 overs today on a pitch where the bowlers have had to work for their wickets.
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Gidman said: "Andrew Gale instigated the discussion about contriving a target and I was quick to agree. We are in the business of winning cricket matches and this gives us a chance.
"It is a good batting pitch, but at the same time 400 is a lot of runs to get. What's certain is that we will get more out of on Saturday as a team than if we were facing a certain draw."
The visitors forfeited their first innings and threw up some friendly deliveries from occasional bowlers to get Gloucestershire from 299-9 in their first innings to 351-9 declared.
The last 52 runs were scored in just 3.1 overs off the bowling of Yorkshire skipper Gale and Adam Lyth, who presented runs to last pair Ian Saxelby and Championship debutant Graeme McCarter
The hosts then made 48 without loss in their second innings, using up 27 overs, before closing their innings at what was clearly an agreed time.
There was no sign of what was ahead when Gloucestershire began the day on 165-2. The cricket was orthodox as Kane Williamson and Alex Gidman took the total to 203 before Gidman, on 26, offered a low catch to wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy off Bresnan.
The England seamer went on to send back Williamson – not before the New Zealander had advanced his overnight 89 to 111 – Hamish Marshall (47) and Ian Cockbain (38) as Gloucestershire moved to 293-6.
Bresnan finished with 5-81 from 32 overs. When Steve Patterson dismissed Richard Coughtrie and Ed Young for ducks with successive balls and then had Will Gidman lbw, the home side were 299-9.
The chief point of interest appeared to be whether they would get a third batting point. But the match took an unexpected twist as Gale introduced first Lyth and then himself to the attack, clearly in an effort to feed the opposition runs.
There was the strange sight of Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie 'fielding' outside the boundary rope to throw the ball back as Saxelby (27 not out) and McCarter (29 not out) blasted a succession of full tosses and long hops to the ropes.
Gloucestershire ended up with four batting points and Yorkshire three bowling points. But more contrived cricket to come as the home side batted again. Openers Chris Dent and Benny Howell took their time and were rarely threatened in a stand of 48.
Finally, the game returned to normality as Yorkshire set about their task. Lyth was dropped on ten at first slip by Alex Gidman off Saxelby, before Will Gidman made the breakthrough with the score on 14.
Joe Sayers was caught behind off a defensive edge for one and, with the new ball nibbling about off the seam, Gloucestershire looked favourites.
But there were no more alarms for Yorkshire and both sides will fancy their chances given a full quota of play today.