White runs Lancashire ragged

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The Independent Online
Talk to bowlers up and down the country and they will tell you that as a batsman, anyway, Craig White is a "class act". Lancashire found out first hand yesterday when White played the innings of his life against them, making 181 from 266 balls with 21 fours and four sixes.

Richard Blakey, whose unbeaten 109 was his first century since 1992, joined him in adding 252 for Yorkshire's sixth wicket and one way or another this pair ran riot in a manner that was never thought to be possible or indeed decorous in a Roses match. But - and this will make most uncomfortable reading in cricketing outposts like Oswaldtwistle and Clayton-le-Moors - Lancashire's bowling and outcricket, not to mention much of their body language, identified them as a team someway from being focused on the job in hand.

To put it more bluntly, they were there for the taking and White certainly seized the moment. Making full use of the crease he played decisively either forward or back, showed the bowlers the full face of the bat and some of his cover driving was of the classic variety more usually associated with a Hammond or a Cowdrey.

With Blakey missing little - and there was plenty - that could be cut or worked off his legs at the other end, Lancashire looked nonplussed from a very early stage. Imagination was not one of their strong points and by the end all they could come up with was using their slow bowlers to aim the leg stump or beyond to a five-man legside field.

It made no difference. White was still able to give himself room to flog Gary Keedy through the covers. For good measure he lifted him for two sixes over square leg too. By the time he perished to a weary (or possibly bored) stroke, the partnership had by some way erased the previous highest for this wicket against Lancashire, 188 by Ray Illingworth and Willie Watson in 1955.

Indeed, only the 276 scored by Maurice Leyland and Emmott Robinson against Glamorgan in 1926, stands above them against all opponents. The only question mark about Yorkshire's performance concerned why they allowed their innings to linger on, not least with uncertain weather forecast for today.

But there is much to be said for making sure your opponents are thoroughly fed up, an emotion Lancashire know only too well these days in the championship. The dismissals of Steve Titchard, who missed a straight one, Nick Speke, who went after a wide one, and Jason Gallian, who got out to a long hop, all reinforced that theory and even though this pitch has held up better than anticipated, Lancashire will be hard pressed to do likewise.