Yorkshire 328-7 Northamptonshire: Ballance hits ton to lift England prospects
Sunday 20 April 2014
Peter Moores may not remember, and Gary Ballance will possibly hope that he doesn’t, but it was against Lancashire at Headingley in 2011, when England’s new head coach was guiding the Red Rose county towards a first outright County Championship for 77 years, that the Yorkshire left-hander bagged what so far is his only pair.
Ballance’s career, it is fair to say, has kicked on a bit from there, particularly last season, when his 1,363 first-class runs for Yorkshire included six centuries, five of them in the Championship. They earned him a place on the England tour to Australia, where he made his debut in the final Ashes Test in Sydney in circumstances that were difficult, to say the least.
As such, he is the man in possession of the England No 5 slot. The competition to impress Moores and the national selector James Whitaker over the next few weeks will be fierce, with Eoin Morgan and James Taylor, among others, also eyeing up the gaps in the middle order. Ballance, though, is giving them something to measure up to.
Yesterday, back at Headingley, he made his second century of the season and the 20th of his career, in only 71 first-class matches, as Yorkshire recovered from a tricky start after deciding to bat first in gloomy, damp conditions.
He looked in exceptionally good touch, not obviously troubled at any stage either against the seamers or against James Middlebrook, the off-spinner, who was given an extended opportunity to test Ballance during the afternoon but made little impression.
Ballance added 156 for the fourth wicket with Alex Lees, the 21-year-old opener who made an impressive breakthrough last season.
Lees fell for 90, leg before to Andrew Hall’s medium pace, but was not nearly as fluent as his partner and should have been out on 50, when he was missed at first slip, and on 51, when he should have been stumped off Middlebrook.
Joe Root is pencilled in for a return to action with Yorkshire Seconds this week.
West Ham United vs Astra Giurgiu match report: Slaven Bilic sent off after Hammers throw away lead
Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United? 'My next move will be a surprise' says PSG striker
Ashes 2015 live: Latest score and updates with Australia on the brink of humiliating defeat after Jimmy Anderson claims David Warner wicket
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: Steve Finn claims five wickets as England close in on beating Australia in third Test inside three days at Edgbaston
- 1 Stuart Baggs dies: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
- 2 As the world mourned the death of Cecil the lion, five endangered elephants were killed in Kenya
- 3 Amazon Prime - how to cancel: after Top Gear hiring, instructions on how to leave premium service
- 4 What is halal meat and why is it controversial?
- 5 Living in Spain and commuting to London 'cheaper than actually working in London'
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the UK Government is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'