ANDREW GALE has been banned from Yorkshire’s last two LV= County Championship matches for his part in a heated verbal altercation with Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince during Tuesday’s third day at Emirates Old Trafford.
The Yorkshire captain yesterday led his side to a seventh win of the season and a 26-point lead over second-placed Nottinghamshire with two matches to play, but now his season is over.
Gale used foul language towards the South African batsman during the closing stages of day three having become frustrated with the left-hander’s apparent bid to slow things down so that he could minimise the number of overs he and Usman Khawaja faced in their bid to avoid defeat.
Finger and bat jabbing continued from a distance as they left the field at close, although Gale accepted he had crossed the line before the start of day four and apologised.
However, the incident was reported by umpires Steve Garratt and Steve O’Shaughnessy, and Gale’s previous has cost him dear.
He earned six penalty points for questioning the umpire’s decision in the reverse fixture in May, and that haul was matched yesterday following an innings and 18-run win over the Red Rose.
He looked inconsolable on the dressing room balcony after the match, and coach Jason Gillespie said: “He’s our leader, the leader of Yorkshire County Cricket Club. For him to be missing out on the last two games is devastating for the man himself.
“We really feel for him and are disappointed. His season’s over, and he’s quite understandably devastated after such a great win here.”
Yorkshire can win the title in next Tuesday’s clash at Trent Bridge. Notts, who lost at Durham, need to better the White Rose’s points haul in that match by three to take the title race beyond next week.
Lancashire, trailing by 332 on first innings, slipped from 144-2 at the start of play to 314 all out as Adil Rashid claimed 5-117 from 40. It was the leg-spinner’s first five-wicket haul since last June.
Lancashire lost five wickets for 27 almost immediately after lunch to slip from 243-4 to 270-9 to hamstring their chances, of which Jack Brooks took three.
Khawaja’s 117 was the Red Rose county’s standout innings, although he could not prevent the White Rose from taking a vice like grip on the title race. Gillespie, however, insists Yorkshire are not home and hosed just yet.
“It’s a great position to be in, no doubt about it,” he added. “We’ve got Notts away, and I know they’ve lost, but they’re a damn good team.
“We’re under no illusions it will be a tough challenge for us at Trent Bridge, but all we can do is best prepare. We’ve got a lot of work to do, no question about. There’s still a lot of cricket left in the season.”
The ECB released news of Gale’s ban approximately two hours after the end of this fixture, and there remains a chance that further action could be taken. Quite what that would be remains unclear.
It is the third time Gale has been involved in Roses controversy having been part of a heated exchange with Lancashire’s Jimmy Anderson in the 2011 fixture at Liverpool, although Anderson was very much the instigator on that occasion.
However, it is understood that Prince was regularly sledging Adam Lyth throughout his match-defining innings of 251 during days two and three here.
Meanwhile, England fast bowler Liam Plunkett has been ruled out of the Notts clash due to his ankle injury.