Yorkshire 306-7 Lancashire: Rudolph turns on the style as Sutton opts for safety

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The Independent Online

After Wednesday's experience, inviting Yorkshire to bat first here was probably a straightforward decision for Luke Sutton. On a misty morning in Leeds after overnight rain, the last thing Lancashire's stand-in captain wanted was a repeat of their Friends Provident Trophy humiliation, when the injury-ravaged White Rose could barely find five people to bowl but still blew away their opponents for 89.

He may wish he had trusted his original instincts, assuming that this pitch, like Wednesday's, did not strike him as a nest of vipers. Yorkshire will feel that, in the circumstances, they have done pretty well. They have three points and Lancashire already know they will have to exceed their highest score this season to secure a first-innings lead.

The ball has swung, as was always on the cards, but while no batsman managed a substantial score, none failed either, with the sad exception of Joe Sayers, whose miserable start to the season continued with a seventh-ball duck.

Jacques Rudolph, Gerard Brophy and several others did enough to leave a decent crowd here – by the standards of four-day county cricket, at any rate – a little unsure about who was on top.

Rudolph, strong and stylish, was the pick of the batsmen, and he will be as frustrated as any watcher that he did not turn his seventh half-century so far, in all cricket, into his fourth century of the fledgling summer. He had enjoyed a let-off on eight – put down in the slips – but had just collected his seventh and eighth fours, dispatched beautifully through the offside field off Stephen Croft, only to edge the next ball to Sutton.

It had seemed that Lancashire were getting on top when Saj Mahmood, impressive in his early spells, claimed his third wicket, stopping Anthony McGrath in his tracks on 45. But Rudolph and Andrew Gale added 77 for the fourth wicket and after both those batsmen had gone in quick succession, Brophy and Adil Rashid (43) put on 79 for the sixth.

Yorkshire, without four seamers and with Darren Gough carrying a variety of niggles, will know better how good a score they made when they bowl.