Lancashire 228-3 v Yorkshire: Loye lays into lacklustre Yorkshire

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Mal Loye underlined his value to Lancashire with his second century in three days as struggling Yorkshire endured a difficult opening to the 242nd Roses match.

Their captain, Craig White, made the logical decision by inviting the opposition to bat first but despite a green tinge to the pitch and largely overcast skies his bowlers did not prosper. Conditions were poor enough to force three stoppages, effectively cutting the day in half. In between, Loye was the dominant figure, rarely offering even the hint of a chance as Lancashire totalled 228 for 3.

Coming on the heels of his 127 against Durham in the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy on Sunday, Loye's performance yesterday was impressive but Lancashire have grown accustomed to high quality batting from the 33-year-old since his arrival in 2003.

Lancashire have seen him move up a level, scoring almost 3,500 first-class runs and raising his average from 37.46 when he left Northamptonshire to 48.82 now.

Having completed his 12th century for Lancashire with his 15th boundary just before tea yesterday, he will resume at 113 not out, his partnership with Stuart Law currently worth 142. He edged a ball from John Blain just short of the slips on 87 and was in difficulties twice in one over against Jason Gillespie but otherwise looked comfortable.

Not that batting was straightforward. Mark Chilton succumbed early to a fine delivery from Deon Kruis that had him caught at second slip and the loss of Iain Sutcliffe shortly afterwards left Lancashire 17 for 2.

All too often, however, batsmen were fed easy pickings, not least by the unfortunate Blain, who conceded 49 runs in only five overs, his analysis flattered by the wicket of Brad Hodge, who chopped on.

Sutcliffe's wicket was also a giveaway, the left-hander treading on his stumps after turning Gillespie into the leg-side.