Cricket: Lehmann keeps Yorkshire ahead

Yorkshire 271-7 Derbyshire 235-9 Yorkshire win by 36 runs
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Yorkshire 271-7

Derbyshire 235-9

Yorkshire win by 36 runs

THIS YEAR marks the 100th anniversary of Yorkshire's prestigious year book and there are hopes that the county will land a trophy, just as they did when the first one appeared. Though it is early days yet, they lead the Championship and yesterday they brushed aside a feeble challenge by Derbyshire in the Benson and Hedges Cup.

Darren Lehmann's well-paced, unbeaten century held them comfortably together and could only have reminded Derbyshire of how much their own batting has suffered since the injury to their overseas player, Michael Slater, on the first morning of the season.

But it was their bowlers who failed them here, failing to make the most of a helpful toss. Though the ball moved around under lowering skies, it was too seldom in the right place. And 16 wides are unacceptable at any level of cricket.

Their problems did not end there. There is evidence to suggest that like many a new captain, Dominic Cork is perhaps trying a shade too hard. Certainly, he appears to grasp that in English conditions specialist opening batsmen are still a better bet than so-called dashers.

This is particularly true where bowlers of the quality of Darren Gough and Chris Silverwood are concerned. Cork and his stand-in opening partner Ian Blackwell had their work cut out to survive against their accuracy and the innings never got off the ground.

By contrast, Yorkshire were hardly under pressure, although admittedly they would have been 31 for 2 if David Byas had not survived a straightforward catch to midwicket off Phil DeFreitas; but after that Lehmann kept things ticking over so well with ones and twos that his first 50 included only one boundary.

His left-handedness probably did not help Derbyshire's efforts to locate a consistent line. At 32 a thin-edge off Paul Aldred may have flicked the edge of the wicketkeeper's glove, but otherwise he gave no discernible chance even when he stepped up a gear.

It was largely due to him that Yorkshire made 81 from the last 10 overs. Near the end, in completing his second 50 from only 29 balls, he reached three figures by lifting Cork over long-off for six. Interestingly, the bowler was quick to congratulate him both then and at the end of the innings, so the Derbyshire captain is certainly making progress in some important aspects of the game.

Mark Taylor intends staying on as Australia's Test captain, according to reports in Sydney. The 33-year-old opening batsman spoke of the possibility of standing down following last month's tour to India. However, he is expected to go to Melbourne today and tell the Australian Cricket Board that he wants to remain captain.

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