Yorkshire take the match by the scruff of neck
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:Old Trafford, Manchester
Scorecard:Lancashire v Yorkshire
Player:A Lyth, JA Rudolph, A McGrath, G Chapple
Event:LV County Championship 2010

DateLine: 29th June 2010


No fours before lunch is the traditional attitude at Roses matches, but one that is decidedly non-PC in modern times. But the likes of Wilfred Rhodes, Arthur Mitchell and others must have been turning in their graves at the sight of Yorkshire as Adam Lyth plundering the Lancashire bowled with impunity at Old Trafford today. He played some superb strokes in running to his first century in a Roses match, paving the way for Yorkshire as dominant total of 379 for eight at the close of play.


Yorkshire won the toss and batted first in sunny weather on a good-looking pitch. With Joe Sayers unwell and Andrew Gale with the English Lions, the acting captain Jacques Rudolph thrust himself back into the opening spot, but he was merely an extra as Lyth took centre stage. Lyth was confident right from the start, excelling with his crisp, decisive cover-drives and also his own stroke, half drive and half clip, wide of mid-on. After ten overs Yorkshire were 43 without loss, of which Rudolph had the three and Lyth (having faced four more balls than his partner) the forty. Lyth reached his fifty in just under the hour, off 47 balls, with his tenth four, clipped backward of point, and was on course for what is believed to be the unique and sacrilegious feat of scoring a century before lunch on the first day of a Roses match. The wily old pro Glen Chapple, bowling mainly to Rudolph, conceded just ten runs off his six overs, but his team-mates suffered.


For confidence and panache against bowlers unable to move the ball significantly, Lyth took full marks, though he was not always secure. He was occasionally beaten, and on 28 a miscued hook just evaded the clutches of fine leg and went for four. With Tom Smith coming on for a useful spell, Lancashire managed to rein him in a little, and he went to lunch on 84. Rudolph had got out of his groove to reach half of his partner as score, and Yorkshire were 126 without loss a remarkably, no extras yet.


Rudolph reached his fifty shortly after the interval, but it took Lyth more than half an hour to reach the coveted Roses century all the more so for him, as his previous first-class best against Lancashire was 19. He then fell two balls later for exactly 100, a leg-side tickle off Smith to the keeper, and Yorkshire as opening stand of 166 was broken. Altogether he faced 124 balls and hit 17 fours most of them, in defiance of tradition, before lunch.


Rudolph went on to make a very valuable 84, showing more application than he appeared to do at times while opening last season, and leaving the flashy strokes to his partners. He was out when Daren Powell, who bowled an occasional a jaffer made a ball fly off the pitch and Rudolph, playing loosely for once, edged a shoulder-high catch into the slips. Anthony McGrath had begun with great care, but then displayed some powerful strokes, going in to tea with 45 (Jonny Bairstow 25), and the total 265 for two.


It took McGrath another twenty minutes after tea to reach his half-century; it took him 90 balls. Bairstow was now not far behind him, but he fell for 47, very well caught off a leading edge at short cover by Simon Katich off Smith at 299. McGrath, however, could not get going again, and he was finally bowled by Powell for 61, playing on as he tried to force a ball off the back foot. Gerard Brophy was batting fluently, while Adil Rashid turned his first ball to the midwicket boundary.


The weather since the interval had clouded over and there were a few spots of rain, but play continued. Steadily Lancashire continued to fight back, and Brophy was trapped lbw for 35 off 39 balls as he walked into a straight ball from Chapple, the Lancashire captain finally taking a well-deserved wicket. He quickly followed with three more. First a slash from Rashid (13) was brilliantly caught one-handed by Steven Croft, and then he had Azeem Rafiq (4) caught at the wicket. Finally Tino Best (1) skied a return catch, and the total had deteriorated to 373 for eight. Rich Pyrah and Steven Patterson added another six before play ended, more than 30 minutes after the scheduled close.


After being 299 for two at one stage, Yorkshire fell away in the final session, and it will be a surprise if they add many more on the second morning, as their last two batsmen are not noted for their competence in this department. On the whole, the luck ran Yorkshire's way from the moment they won the toss, and Lancashire had to suffer a number of instances where a miscued stroke did not go to hand, or the bowler beat the batsman all ends up without hitting the stumps. But the home county, who maintained such a poor over rate, is fighting back and are not out of this match yet.