Headingley always used to enjoy the patronage of knowledgeable crowds and it might be argued that the tradition still holds good in that the Leeds public this week has had the wisdom to steer clear of the place. Yorkshire's performance in the contest that is meant to stir their competitive instincts most has largely been lamentable.
After conceding 417 runs to an opponent they had invited to bat first, Craig White's side were less impressive batting even than they had been in the field, which did not really seem possible. Anthony McGrath, the one-time England all-rounder, continued the solid start he has made to his own season but found no support of lasting substance. Yorkshire will come back this morning 165 behind and with a sniff of avoiding the follow on, only after a boisterous last-wicket partnership of 63 between Jason Gillespie (39 not out) and Deon Kruis.
Missing the injured James Anderson and with the involvement of Sajid Mahmood as well as Andrew Flintoff now determined by national interests, Lancashire's bowling resources are depleted currently. An ideal time, then, for a young pretender to step up and make his claim.
In this instance, it has been Tom Smith, an early graduate from Lancashire's academy whose elevation to the senior squad has already signalled the emergence of a promising talent. The muscular 20-year-old from Liverpool, a decent batsman and an agile fielder too, is already allying consistency to his pace. Coming on as first change in place of Dominic Cork yesterday morning, he took a wicket with his fifth ball, swinging one in to bowl Matthew Wood between bat and pad but his opening spell was as remarkable for its economy.
In his first seven overs he conceded only one scoring stroke. Later, he benefited from a poorly executed hook by Michael Lumb, defeated Tim Bresnan with one that kept low and made John Blain pay for playing across the line to finish on 4-55, potentially his best figures .
Yorkshire were reasonably placed at 156-3 but collapsed rapidly after Darren Lehmann was stumped giving Gary Keedy the charge, the left-arm spinner bowling Gerard Brophy and finally beating McGrath in the flight as five wickets fell for 33 runs. Yorkshire may well need the weather on their side to avoid defeat.Reuse content