Bad ligjht saw the game end with 15 possible overs still to play and with Yorkshire 286-5 and 51 short of the winning line. The game was hard fought and will undoubtedly benefit both sides ahead of the season proper, which for Yorkshire starts at Headingley on Thursday against Kent in the LV= County Championship.
You write off Anthony McGrath at your peril. A full winter of work rather than rehab has given the veteran a new lease of life and he dominated the Durham attack through the morning session.
You know when he’s approaching his best when he drops to one knee, his back arches and the cover drive powers the ball to the fence before the bowler has completed his action. There were a few such strokes on view while at the other end Joe Root looked equally comfortable.
A Root six off Steve Harmison brought up his fifty from 88 balls with 7 fours and a six, but McGrath was hot in his heels and an on-driven three off Ben Stokes brought him to the same milestone a few moments later in 87 balls with 8 fours.
Anthony McGrath (79) and Joe Root (71) batted through the morning session to take Yorkshire to 173-1 at lunch. It was neck-and-neck in the race for three figures, but during the lunch break the clouds thickened and rain returned to halt play as 9 overs were lost.
After the break McGrath continued to dominate and pulled Ben Stokes to the midwicket fence. In this form there will be a few second division bowling attacks having sleepless nights. It is great to see the McGrath of old resurrected from an injury ravaged 2011 and no better sight than him in full flow.
He straight drove Braithwaite for four to enter the nineties, but lost Root when he edged Stokes behind for 72 (152 balls, 10 fours and a six). The pair had added 177 for the second wicket. McGrath went for one drive too many when on 94 and slotted a catch to Mark Stoneman at point. His innings of 153 balls included 15 well struck fours.
Andrew Gale and Jonny Bairstow came together at 195-3 and both looked to played positively. Scott Borthwick managed to strangle Gale down the legside for 13.
At tea Yorkshire were 253-4 with Bairstow 33 and Ballance 10. Bairstow hit Harmison over deep square for six. Breese came into the attack and Bairstow swatted him to the straight boundary as if he was a slight draft. Bairstow hit Harmison even further over midwicket to reach his fifty from 49 balls with 3 sixes and 6 fours as light rain forced the players off for ten minutes.
He was caught brilliantly by Borthwick low to his right off the next ball after the resumption and Adil Rashid (8*) and Gary Ballance (15*) saw Yorkshire to 286-5 when bad light saw the game end prematurely as a draw.
The Club will announce their squad to face Kent on Wednesday.
JAMES BUTTLER in CHESTER-LE-STREET
DAY ONE REPORT
Wickets were shared and Michael Di Venuto made a splendid 143 as Durham were bowled out for 337 on Day 1 of the two day friendly. By the close Yorkshire were 43-1 in reply.
Yorkshire started their reply with Joe Root and Joe Sayers adding 13 before Ruel Brathwaite managed to get one straight to Sayers and trapped him leg before for 7.
Root produced two luscious cover driven boundaries and pulled Harmison to the ropes to go into the twenties. Root was the only top order batsman not to reach fifty on the pre-season tour of Barbados so a good stay at the crease for him would complete the ticks alongside his name in Jason Gillespie’s notebook.
By the close Yorkshire were 42-1 with Root on 24 and McGrath on 6. Yorkshire trail by 296 runs.
At 11am under blue skies in Chester-le-Street Ryan Sidebottom claimed first blood when he induced a Will Smith (4) edge and Jonny Bairstow took a straightforward catch behind. Mark Stoneman (12) was trapped leg before by Iain Wardlaw and Durham were 64-2.
Yorkshire’s bowlers will be pleased they are escaping Michael Di Venuto in the Championship this summer. The left-hander was in scintillating form as he punished anything remotely loose, but had an escape when pulling Wardlaw to Patterson at deep square. Patterson ran in but couldn’t cling on and the Australian continued to race to his fifty hin 48 balls with 8 fours and a six.
Ben Stokes started brightly for his 21 but Wardlaw struck again when he bowled the right-hander shortly after Durham had reached three figures. And with one ball remaining before the lunch break, Ajmal Shahzad who had put in a good second spell from the Finchale End induced a wafty drive from Collingwood and Bairstow dived to his right to pouch.
Sidebottom replaced Shahzad after lunch and immediately had Muchall caught by Rashid at third slip for 2. Phil Mustard made a typically beligerant 35 before playing an uppish drive to Patterson and was caught by Pyrah at point.
Di Venuto was threatening to fo berserk but pulled Shahzad to Pyrah at deep midwicket and was on his way for a terrific 143.
The score became 293-8 when Scot Borthwick (22) shouldered arms to one that nipped back from Pyrah and turned to see his stumps flattened. Breese (28) was lbw when playing across a Pyrah delivery and Braithwaite wasn’t good enough to read a Rashid googly and was bowled for 5. Liam Plunkett was unbeaten on 25.
Yorkshire’s last warm-up game for the season proper takes place at the Emirates ICG in Chester-le-Street as Andrew Gale takes his Tykes to play Durham over two days.
With that side for the opening LV= County Championship match against Kent hotly debated over the last two weeks, the twelve man squad picked for the Durham trip provides the clearest indication yet on who Gale & Gillespie see as their strongest XI.
Sayers and Root look set to open and Anthony McGrath, who looked fit and back to his best in Barbados fills the number three berth. Ajmal Shahzad, also fit unlike much of last year due to an ankle injury, showed real quality in the Caribbean, as did Iain Wardlaw who has benefitted from his first full winter’s work as a professional cricketer.
With Richard Pyrah playing both warm-up matches after missing the Barbados tour to see the arrival of twin girls on Mothers’ Day there is every chance this could be the same 12 players announced for the first Championship match.
If so Adam Lyth, Gerard Brophy, Azeem Rafiq, Moin Ashraf and Oliver Hannon-Dalby are the unlucky players to miss the cut and it will be up to them to play well enough at Derby on Saturday and early on in the summer to force a change of minds.
Durham CCC will be running Open Days on Sunday and Monday so you can get your chance to get behind the scenes and take a look around! They call them Open Days – we call them spying missions! Have a look at the corporate boxes, the brand new Castle View and Cathedral Suites as well as touring our state of the art media centre. Tours run every half-an-hour from 11.00am until 4.00pm each day. You can book your free place on one of the tours, in advance, by calling the Durham Box Office, during office hours, on 0844 499 4466.
The match starts at 11am on both days and entry is free of charge.
Joe SAYERS, Joe ROOT, Anthony McGRATH, Andrew GALE (capt), Jonny BAIRSTOW (wk), Gary BALLANCE, Adil RASHID, Richard PYRAH, Ajmal SHAHZAD, Ryan SIDEBOTTOM, Iain WARDLAW and Steve PATTERSON.