Yorkshire have not encountered too many ideal batting pitches this season and the prospect of being put in on a greenish one here yesterday could hardly have thrilled them.
In the event, Craig White made an unbeaten hundred of great power and quality which did much to camouflage an assortment of lapses elsewhere. Even White needed one piece of luck. At 17 he was dropped at slip off Paul Taylor, who had one of those days when little went his way. As the pitch changed colour and character, Northamptonshire could only temper their regret with admiration as White fired off one high class stroke after another.
A lot of people have been very sniffy about White's selection for England, but those who have to bowl at him for a living will tell you that he is a class act as a batsman. At the moment his own bowling is restricted by injury and, who knows, maybe his batting is benefiting from this in some way.
In some ways his 106, made from 155 balls with 14 fours and one six, was a combination of the virtues of both his Yorkshire birthright and his Australian upbringing. He began with a tight, straight defence, scoring mainly in the arc between mid-on and mid-off; later anything short was dealt with very savagely off the back foot and mostly off the meat of the bat.
At the other end, it was a different game. In the morning the ball moved off the seam and sometimes stopped, and nothing was very straighforward. Taylor obtained more bounce than most while Neil Mallender and David Capel obtained sideways movement, so Yorkshire were 68 for 3 when White appeared.
He was trying to force Taylor off the back foot when the ball flew to Capel at first slip at a height which left the fielder in two minds about adjusting his hands. Down it went and White never looked vulnerable again.
If someone had stayed with him, Northamptonshire's decision to bowl might well have rebounded on them. But from the moment that David Byas was undone, surprisingly, by his lack of footwork, every error cost a wicket and White will need to get his head down again this morning.Reuse content