Andrew Gale has warned his winning Yorkshire side not to rest on their laurels as they prepare to welcome Derbyshire to Headingley for their latest LV= County Championship assignment, starting tomorrow.
The White Rose county are still basking in the glory of one of their most memorable four-day wins having chased down 336 to beat Durham at Emirates Durham on Saturday evening, clinching a first Division One win of the campaign.
They have banished memories of a round one defeat to Sussex, and are now looking to build a head of steam for the rest of the summer.
But to do that, Gale insists they will have to be fully focused when last season’s Division Two champions roll into town – even if the Peakites have lost two of their opening three matches this summer.
Captained by Wayne Madsen, they have been bolstered by the acquisition of West Indies batting legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
“Derbyshire are a good side,” said Gale shortly before leaving the North East, where Joe Root’s 182 had underpinned a stunning win. “They showed that last year when they went up as champions. It’s different in the first division, but they’ve still got similar players if not better ones.
“We’ll have to play well next week and continue the form we’re in.
“When you come to the Riverside and knock those sorts of totals off, it can only give you confidence going forward.
“Sometimes you can win games in three days and not be tested, but when you’re tested like we were, you come away thinking ‘we’ve had to play well to win that game’. That will give us a lot of confidence going forward.
“It’s always nice to get a win under your belt early on in the season, and it doesn’t get much better than that. We’d probably been outplayed for most of the time, but put a good performance in during the last day.
“We needed someone to stand up, and Joe did that. He showed what a fantastic player he is. To knock 336 off, it was a fantastic effort.
“We know that the Riverside is a tough pitch for two days and flattens out as the game goes on. But it was still a tough pitch. It was a sporting declaration by them, but we were always going to have to play well to win. It was an uphill task from losing two wickets early on.
“We said at lunch ‘one guy stands up and bat through and we’d have a chance’. That’s what Rooty did.
“In our dressing room we have a little sheet where we tick off partnerships as we go along. We had one or two hundreds partnership and a couple of 75s as well. Although Rooty was the star, everybody else chipped in.”
At the start of day four, Yorkshire were not favoured to clinch the win against a good attack having not hit their straps with the bat in two of the three previous Championship innings this summer. They were bowled out for 96 in the first innings against Somerset and 177 in the first innings against Durham.
But Gale was always confident that his side would at least put up one heck of a fight.
“I knew we were all due. If you look down our line-up, we couldn’t keep batting the way we had done over the last two or three innings. Without making a big deal out of it, we wanted guys to put more of a price on their wicket,” he said.
Gale has also found runs hard to come by during the early stages of the season, and the skipper’s last Championship century came against Durham in mid-2011.
But the left-hander scored a valuable 39, and shared a half-century stand with Root for the second wicket yesterday morning. It was one of four partnerships above 50 in the innings.
He left the North East feeling much better about himself. He added: “I’ve probably been a bit down over the last couple of weeks. I’ve worked really hard, but I needed some time at the crease. I felt back to myself in this game.
“I was disappointed not to make a bigger contribution and go on and get a 60 or 70 plus, but I felt like my feet were going in the right areas again. Hopefully I can take the momentum into next week and the rest of the season.”
Yorkshire have made one change from the squad that defeated Durham on Saturday. Seamer Ryan Sidebottom has been rested. All-rounder Richard Pyrah has been drafted into the squad.
On resting Sidebottom, first team coach Jason Gillespie said:
“We see it as a great opportunity to give Ryan (Sidebottom) a break taking into account how much cricket we have coming up in the next couple of months. We need to manage our assets as best we can.”
The starting XI will be named before the toss on Monday.