County Championship: Adam Lyth repays Andrew Gale’s faith with a gritty century

Close, day one: Yorkshire 299-3 v Durham

Chester-le-Street

Durham’s victory over Yorkshire at Scarborough last August effectively decided the 2013 Championship, so there was an element of putting the record straight in Yorkshire’s ambitions. Reasonably enough, they might say “so far, so good”.

In conditions that looked enormously in favour of the seamers, Adam Lyth completed a 171-ball hundred that must be among the best of his career. Kane Williamson, the New Zealand batsman, came close to emulating him.

Lyth’s innings was impressive for its patience. The left-hander’s natural game is to be aggressive from the outset.

In his first 69 balls he faced, there was only one boundary. Rarely can he have restrained himself so successfully. But then Andrew Gale’s bold decision to bat first on winning the toss demanded that he did. Lyth wanted to repay Gale’s faith in him. Last week, when Joe Root came back into the Yorkshire side against Middlesex at Lord’s, Lyth half-expected he would step aside. Instead, Gale left himself out.

Durham did not bowl at all well by their standards. Graham Onions, still with England ambitions, had no kind of rhythm but he was not alone in finding consistency eluding him. As a collective, the Durham attack often bowled too short or too full and could not control their lines.

But with swing and seam movement to exploit, when they got it right they asked questions, Chris Rushworth and Jamie Harrison, the left-armer, in particular. Lyth rode his luck, having a let-off on 88, when he drove at Mark Wood. Scott Borthwick, at second slip, parried the ball, giving Paul Collingwood a chance to grab it as he ran around from first, but it went to ground.

Lyth’s innings ended tamely, caught at second slip to the first ball he faced after tea, playing needlessly at a harmless wide ball from Harrison. Nonetheless, he had served his captain well.

By then, too, Yorkshire had a batting point, which takes some winning here. By the close they almost had three. Apart from Warwickshire, none of last season’s visitors made 200 in the first innings. Building on the 179-run partnership Lyth shared with Williamson, who made 97 before falling to the second new ball, Yorkshire need one more to be the first to 300 here since Lancashire in May 2011.

Root made a second-innings 182 here last season. He is missing this time, away with England along with Gary Ballance. Gale reinstated himself in Root’s place, with Jonny Bairstow returning from his broken finger for Ballance, and Tim Bresnan making his first appearance of the season in place of Steven Patterson.

County round-up

Bowler of the Day

Sussex’s Chris Jordan may be the man in pole position but he is not without competition if there is a third seamer’s slot up for grabs when England’s new regime turn their attention to Test cricket. Chris Wright, who might have been higher in the pecking order already but for the stress fracture that curtailed his 2013 season,  appears to be close to his 2012 form again, as was evidenced in his new ball spell against Middlesex at Edgbaston yesterday, when he accounted Sam Robson, Neil Dexter and Chris Rogers in the space of 18 deliveries.

Robson, England’s opener-in-waiting as some would have it, edged him to third slip for seven, Dexter was yorked middle stump for six and Australia’s Rogers, a double centurion last week, pushed hard at a ball outside off stump and nicked it to first slip. Wright finished with four for 56 as Middlesex were brought heavily back to earth after scoring 472 to beat Yorkshire at Lord’s, reduced to 66 for 8 before a late rally swelled the total to 167 all out, Steven Finn – another bowler in eye-catching  early-season form – finishing 37 not out, his second highest first-class score.

Batsman of the Day

Sussex, their fine start to the season abruptly halted by an innings defeat against  Somerset last week, would have been in a sorry mess against Lancashire at Old Trafford had it not been for Michael Yardy, the former England one-day all-rounder, who followed a modest run of 75 runs from five innings before yesterday with an unbeaten 132 out of 276 for 8.

Extras

Suggestions that Andrew Flintoff might make a  playing comeback in the  NatWest T20 Blast competition have been played down but not ruled out by  Lancashire, where the  36-year-old former England all-rounder has been batting and bowling in the Old  Trafford nets while also working with some academy players. Speaking while on commentary duty for Sky at Chester-le-Street, Lancashire committee member  Paul Allott said that there was “an awfully long way to go” before any such comeback might be possible but did not say it could not happen.

News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Life and Style
Kissing
life
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test