The contrast was acute. Two players putting in landmark performances, one at the beginning of his career, the other coming towards the end of his.
The Yorkshire batsman Adam Lyth was just two years old when Mark Ealham made his first-class debut, for Kent. Yesterday Ealham, now in his fifth season with Nottinghamshire, produced his best figures for 12 years to help bowl his team back among the leaders of the Championship.
It was a fascinating day's play, bordering on the attritional and occasionally rubbing shoulders with the uninteresting, but whatever else it was, it turned into a supreme test for Lyth, now 20, who reached a thoroughly deserved maiden first-class hundred.
The left-hander had already been on duty for two hours when the quest for the 403 runs for victory was resumed and Lyth simply picked up from where he had left off the previous evening. He managed to resist for a further four hours, sharing in three substantial stands, 64 with Gerard Brophy for the fifth wicket, 51 with Adil Rashid for the sixth and a meaty 93 with Tim Bresnan, a stand which had Nottinghamshire stattos looking up the last time a team had chased more than 400 runs on this ground and had won – the answer was Middlesex, who scored 502 in 1925.
Finally though the probing of Ealham and Co got to him and, with the bulk of the first two sessions behind him, and Yorkshire just 120 runs away from a historic victory, Lyth succumbed, pushing forward to André Adams and falling lbw. It ended a 266-ball innings of great fortitude that was punctuated with some exquisite back-foot drives, in what was only his seventh Championship match and it sparked a capitulation.
Ultimately, it was swing that undid Yorkshire, just as it had first time around, and Ealham is a master of the art. Seven of the 15 lbw victims in this match fell to the 38-year-old Ealham, who finished with 7-59 in the second innings, his best since taking 8-36 for Kent against Warwickshire in June 1996, coincidentally the only other match in which Ealham has claimed 10 wickets.Reuse content