Yorkshire 395 Lancashire 243-2 <i>(Lancs trail Yorks by 152 runs)</i>: Yousuf finds form as White Rose start to wilt

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The Independent Online

It was an odd sort of day for Luke Sutton, Lancashire's wicketkeeper and stand-in captain, who set a Roses record by holding seven catches in Yorkshire's first innings but had to concede, after the home side had failed by only five runs to take maximum batting points, that things were not going particularly well. After all, it had been he who had invited them to bat first.

So it will have been a particular consolation to find there was, at least, one teammate he could rely on as Paul Horton proved true to his word by leading a sturdy response. Lancashire's batting has been unusually brittle so far this summer but the 25-year-old opener has defied the pattern by averaging above 70. "If I'm the bloke in form, I have to stand up," he said the other day. And he did.

Horton's third century of the season anchored an unbroken third-wicket stand of 234, Lancashire's biggest partnership of the season, the first to make it into three figures.

He and Mohammad Yousuf, who found some form on what may be the last appearance of his brief term as a county player, rescued Lancashire from the perils of 9 for 2 in an alliance that made Yorkshire suffer for the rash of injuries to their senior bowlers. They have a 19-year-old, Ben Sanderson, making his home debut.

Horton finished unbeaten on 137, hitting 21 fours and allowing himself some artistic licence only after the patient, hard graft of a hundred made off 176 balls. Two of the six centuries he has put together in his first-class career to date have come in Roses matches. He made 149 in the corresponding fixture last year.

Yousuf was dropped on one by Anthony McGrath at second slip off Tim Bresnan, and Yorkshire have paid for the miss. He needs only seven more for his hundred. Earlier, Iain Sutcliffe and Mal Loye had conformed to the pattern of their season with a duck each, but thereafter nothing went Yorkshire's way.