This has been a difficult year for Adil Rashid but a winning contribution to a Roses match would only be good for the young leg-spinner's seemingly-fragile confidence and there was evidence here yesterday that he might be the key to ending Yorkshire's eight-year wait for a victory over the old enemy.
Rashid's exclusion from the England squad for second winter series in Bangladesh and the World Twenty20 reflected a disappointing winter for the 22-year-old, although his treatment on tour in South Africa, where he was largely limited to carrying the drinks, hardly helped his self-esteem. Happily, there are signs that belief is beginning to return. He is enjoying a successful domestic Twenty20 campaign, leading the way among slow bowlers with 20 wickets so far – five more than his nearest pursuer – and bowled with craft and intelligence yesterday as Lancashire, once 94 without loss, were hauled back in the last session.
Bowling unchanged for 19 overs at the Statham End in his first spell, Rashid stifled Lancashire's previously comfortable progress by conceding only 38 runs and, for good measure, claimed the first three wickets, each with a different skill: taking a return catch from a ball that came back high off Stephen Moore's bat; dismissing Paul Horton leg-before, on the front foot, to a ball that went straight on; before finding the edge with turn and bounce as Mark Chilton was caught at slip.
The spell transformed the shape of the contest after Lancashire, largely untroubled against Yorkshire's seam attack, had enjoyed their most profitable first-wicket stand of the season, giving them hope that Yorkshire's 447 might not be out of reach.
Horton, who averages 73.37 in Roses matches, took the score to 101 for 1 just before tea and later completed his fifth half-century in seven matches against Yorkshire.
But his departure for 63 at 131 for 2 was followed swiftly by Chilton's at 143 and when Azeem Rafiq, the 19-year-old off-spinner, joined the fun, avenging a six by Steven Croft by having the all-rounder caught at slip next ball, Lancashire looked shaky.
With half-a-dozen overs left, they needed to reach the close without further damage. Instead, Simon Katich, on his Championship debut, was caught off bat and pad at short-leg off Rafiq, who secured his third wicket by bowling nightwatchman Simon Kerrigan through the gate for a duck. Lancashire need 111 more to avoid the follow-on.