Yorkshire in trouble after Smith century

Lancashire 416-9 dec Yorkshire 199-8
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The Independent Online

It would be a sorry Lancastrian for whom a Roses match did not quicken the pulse, but in Tom Smith the fixture clearly has a singularly galvanising effect.

The 24-year-old Liverpool-born all-rounder took a career-best 6 for 46 when Yorkshire were bowled out for 181 at Old Trafford last July. He then shared a 107-run opening partnership with Paul Horton as Lancashire stacked up 489 for 5 declared.

Yesterday, after a dreadful run with the bat that had seen him score only 31 runs from eight Championship innings, he put together a chanceless century, finishing with a career-best 108 not out before Lancashire declared on 416 for 9. Again, there was a knock-on benefit for the other half of his game as he took 3 for 4 in 37 balls during his first eight-over spell with the ball as Yorkshire crumbled to 55 for 5.

Adil Rashid made an admirable attempt to lead a salvage operation with a fine 65 but Smith claimed his wicket during his second spell to put Lancashire in full control, despite the loss of the opening day to rain. The home side, eight down and still 68 short of avoiding the follow-on, despite Ajmal Shahzad's unbeaten 38, may need the help of the weather again today.

Smith appears to have persuaded Lancashire that opening the batting is not for him. Back in more comfortable territory at six, he succeeded where his top-order team-mates had failed, turning a solid start into a substantial score. He reached his half-century off 90 balls with his sixth boundary, after Ajmal Shahzad gave him room to drive outside off-stump, and it was with an authoritative pull to the fence from a Joe Sayers full toss that he moved into three figures from 158 deliveries.

Sayers, a part-time off-spinner, had been drafted into the attack to save Yorkshire an over-rate fine but it rather took the shackles off Lancashire. They added 144 in the morning session, although not quickly enough to gain more than one extra batting point.

Yorkshire's troubles continued as Glen Chapple bowled in-form Adam Lyth with his second ball, ending the left-hander's dream of 1,000 first-class runs by the end of May. Chapple dealt Yorkshire a second serious blow in his second over, nipping one back to have Anthony McGrath leg-before, after which Smith trapped Sayers in front with his third ball, then had Andrew Gale snaffled at second slip and Jacques Rudolph caught behind.