A tale of two young captains. Andrew Gale has taken on the role at Yorkshire with an unexpected degree of initial success, while Rory Hamilton-Brown – skip the even younger – has had a less starry start at the Oval, but yesterday they both enjoyed an exceptional day at the office. Yorkshire thumped Essex by 10 wickets and just to complete their joy, Surrey beat Lancashire off the penultimate ball.
The Clydesdale Bank 40 may be the competition that nobody (apart from the ECB and county treasurers) wants, but it enjoyed an enviable debut yesterday even if it is played over a distance – 40 overs – that has little wider relevance.
Gale guided Yorkshire to the day's most spectacular result, inflicting Essex's heaviest-ever defeat in limited overs cricket. Chasing a respectable 233 for victory, Gale led the way with an unbeaten 125 from 115 balls. The 26-year-old had never scored a limited-overs century before yesterday and with Yorkshire also sitting on top of the fledgling Championship table – despite failing to beat Kent on Saturday – these are heady days for Gale. Jacques Rudolph accompanied his captain over the line, finishing unbeaten on 102.
Hamilton-Brown has had a tough start to his time at Surrey, but yesterday offered succour to captain and team. The 22-year-old opened the batting, scored 92 from just 64 balls and then sat anxiously in the pavilion until Iftikhar Anjum edged the penultimate ball from Sajid Mahmood for four.
Stephen Moore's 118 off 96 balls had helped Lancashire to a daunting 290 for six. The home side's target was reduced to 283 off 39 overs after rain and it came down to five from the final over. Andre Nel was run out attempting to steal a single to the wicketkeeper but Iftikhar held his nerve and Hamilton-Brown celebrated by leaping down the pavilion steps and punching the air.
Leicestershire's South African opener Jacques du Toit amassed the day's best score, hitting 141, before Wayne White took 6 for 29 to complete a 45-run win over Nottinghamshire.