Darren Lehmann and Anthony McGrath both passed 1,000 first-class runs for the season as Yorkshire made a solid start to their Roses match against Lancashire here yesterday.
McGrath recorded a half-century and Lehmann hit a terrific 130 in the County Championship match, leaving the second-bottom-placed Yorkshire on 344 for 9 at the close against opponents who are flying high at the top of First Division.
The home captain Mark Chilton put the visitors in and, despite Lancashire claiming the early wicket of Craig White, Yorkshire's top order recovered well on what looks to be a good batting track. White was caught behind for nine by Luke Sutton off the bowling of Kyle Hogg, who replaced the injured Dominic Cork, in the 10th over.
McGrath joined the opener Joe Sayers at the crease to put on a second-wicket century partnership which lasted the rest of the morning session. The former England all-rounder was the dominant force with two sixes off Gary Keedy and Oliver Newby, as he raced to a half-century in 54 balls.
With Yorkshire looking in control on 120 for 1 at lunch, Tom Smith sparked a spirited fightback which yielded three wickets in four overs. McGrath was first to go, caught at long leg by Keedy for 65, before Sayers departed in the next over two short of his fifty. The left-hander was snaffled at second slip by Smith off Glen Chapple.
Chapple's second wicket in as many overs completed a hat-trick of impressive catches, as Nathan Astle clung on diving low to his right at second slip to remove Michael Lumb.
At 135 for 4, it looked as though Chilton's somewhat surprising decision to field first had been vindicated - and that was furthered by Smith's second wicket. The South African wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy was the man to go, slashing at a wide long-hop to Chilton at point. But thereafter it was Lehmann's day.
He was dropped on 27 before powering his way to a 59-ball fifty and then his century off another 60 deliveries. He was helped out by his fellow Australian Jason Gillespie, who stubbornly made 43 before being undone by extra bounce from the Liverpool-born Smith, who took 3 for 83.
Lehmann reached his fourth Championship 100 of the season before being caught at mid-on off Hogg looking to go over the top.
* Sri Lanka chased down their highest fourth-innings target to record a thrilling one-wicket win over South Africa and seal a 2-0 series victory in Colombo yesterday. Their captain, Mahela Jayawardene, who was dropped by Herschelle Gibbs on two, led the chase with 123 as Sri Lanka survived a late scare to reach the 352 they needed on the fifth afternoon.