By Graham Hardcastle & Paul Dyson.

Gary Ballance is backing Yorkshire’s batting line-up to continue the improvement shown in their last five County Championship matches, dating back to the start of last September.

Ballance scored a superb, battling, unbeaten 101 in the second innings against Nottinghamshire on Monday as he and Joe Root (130 not out) helped secure a draw at Trent Bridge.

The pair shared 253 for the third wicket after Yorkshire had been set a target of 447 against Stuart Broad and company.

Yorkshire finished on 277-2, one of a number of healthy totals since the start of last September when they pulled clear of Specsavers Division One relegation danger to finish fourth.

Ballance is confident they can show more of the same against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, starting on Thursday, and beyond.

The former captain said: “At the back end of last year, we played well and posted a few good totals, which we did again on Monday. Getting those big scores is a habit, and it will definitely help our bowlers.

“We have a good batting line-up with Rooty in there – and, when he goes, there are other good players who have scored plenty of runs.

“Lythy got a good 80 in the first innings (against Notts), and other guys got some big runs in pre-season and against Leeds/Bradford a couple of weeks ago.”

Yorkshire were by no means at their best with either bat or ball in a game which Notts had the better of. But there were definite signs of encouragement, including a debut five-wicket haul for Duanne Olivier in the first innings.

“We could have been better,” accepted Ballance.

“In the first innings, we should have got 350. But it wasn’t easy against their attack. And Notts played well.

“We were certainly pleased with how we got through on Monday. We fought hard.

“When you come into a day that you know will be tough, it gives you a big lift when you get through it. Not just myself and Rooty, but the whole dressing room. It puts us in a good place for Hampshire.”

Hampshire started their campaign with a home win by an innings and 87 runs against Essex. Sam Northeast starred with 169 before former Test fast bowlers Fidel Edwards and Kyle Abbott claimed five-wicket hauls.

But Ballance returns to a ground he loves playing at.

He has scored two centuries and a double hundred in his last two Championship matches there, both draws, and averages 73.86 across six four-day appearances.

The left-hander also scored a Test 156 against India at the Southampton venue in 2014.

“Sometimes you just like playing at certain grounds,” he said. “Trent Bridge is one of them. I have a decent record there, as I do at the Ageas Bowl.

“It’s a good wicket, and you can get some really big scores if you get a good start. I’m looking forward to it.

“Hampshire are a tough team who have started with a win.”

This will be Root’s final Championship appearance before England’s summer of internationals begin next month, although he could yet feature in the early stages of the Royal London one-day Cup from next week.

He hit 73 and the aforementioned unbeaten 130 against Notts.

“He batted brilliantly and showed his class. It’s great for English cricket to have him scoring runs given the summer ahead,” added Ballance.

Tim Bresnan is in contention after recovering from the back injury he suffered on pre-season tour in Potchefstroom last month.

Jonathan Doidge’s verdict

So, we’re up and running and, while we couldn’t win at Trent Bridge, brilliant hundreds by Gary Ballance and Joe Root on the final day spared us any unnecessary early-season anxieties, in the end allowing us to emerge with a very comfortable draw.

And so on to the Ageas Bowl and a quick turnaround might be just what Steve Patterson and the lads need after finishing the opening fixture on a positive note.

They will also be mindful of the need for more consistency with both bat and ball, after building just one 50-partnership in their first innings at Trent Bridge, prior to that sensational unbroken 253-run stand between Ballance and Root.

Similarly, with the ball, none of the Yorkshire attack would be entirely happy with how they went, though at the same time none of them were too far away either. Duanne Olivier bowled plenty quick enough on a very docile pitch and seven wickets was an excellent return for someone who could potentially be devastating if the radar becomes even more sharply focused.

Steve Patterson in particular, and Matthew Waite, gave good support, while Ben Coad was unlucky in the Notts first innings, and he knows there are better days to come.

Hampshire rattled up a massive 525 to hammer Essex by an innings and 87 runs in their opener, with three players making half centuries to go with Sam Northeast’s 169. With the ball, they have the pace of Fidel Edwards, who bagged eight wickets in the match, and Kyle Abbott, who took seven, so they pose a serious threat on their home patch.

However, if Yorkshire can take on board some of the lessons of Trent Bridge and strive to repeat the good stuff they produced more often, then they are perfectly capable of having the better of the contest.

Root is again available for this match, while Tim Bresnan has also declared himself fit to play after missing out against Notts, and it will be interesting to see whether Patterson opts to turn to the experience of the former Ashes-winning all-rounder.

Team news


Gary Ballance
Tim Bresnan
Harry Brook
Ben Coad
Jack Leaning
Adam Lyth
Duanne Olivier
Steven Patterson (Captain)
Josh Poysden
Joe Root
Jonathan Tattersall (Wicketkeeper)
Tom Kohler-Cadmore
Matthew Waite

All-rounder Tim Bresnan is back in contention for selection for the next Specsavers County Championship fixture at Ageas Bowl. He has built up his bowling workload in recent weeks and has continued to bat as normal, despite sustaining a back injury. The club’s medical staff are satisfied he is fit for a return to four-day cricket and it will fall to captain Steven Patterson to decide whether to include him in the eleven.

Director of Cricket Martyn Moxon has agreed to allow Josh Shaw to join Division Two side Gloucestershire on loan for their four-day fixture against Derbyshire at the Bristol County Ground, starting on Thursday April 11. Shaw will return to Emerald Headingley ahead of the start of the domestic 50-over competition, which gets underway on April 17, with the visit of Leicestershire.

Left-arm spinner James Logan has undergone surgery on his broken thumb and a five-six week period of rehabilitation is now underway.

Matthew Fisher is another week closer, but the club’s medical staff are reluctant to put a time-scale on any potential return to action. The young seamer will be looking to build confidence in his thumb during the coming weeks.


Potential batting milestones in Hampshire v Yorkshire on 11th Apr 2019

  • JA Tattersall needs 6 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches
  • GS Ballance needs 27 runs to reach 1000 runs in First-class matches against Hampshire
  • A Lyth needs 28 runs to reach 10000 runs in First-class matches
  • LA Dawson needs 35 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches against Yorkshire
  • TT Bresnan needs 44 runs to reach 6500 runs in First-class matches
  • A Lyth needs 50 runs to reach 1000 runs in First-class matches against Hampshire
  • RR Rossouw needs 52 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches at Southampton
  • GS Ballance needs 85 runs to reach 10500 runs in First-class matches
  • GK Berg needs 104 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches against Yorkshire
  • IG Holland needs 107 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches
  • GK Berg needs 107 runs to reach 5000 runs in First-class matches
  • A Lyth needs 111 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches at Southampton
  • JM Vince needs 133 runs to reach 9500 runs in First-class matches
  • GS Ballance needs 141 runs to reach 1000 runs in First-class matches at Southampton
  • JM Bairstow needs 148 runs to reach 11500 runs in First-class matches

Potential bowling milestones in Hampshire v Yorkshire on 11th Apr 2019

  • CP Wood needs 3 wickets to reach 50 wickets in First-class matches at Southampton
  • TT Bresnan needs 4 wickets to reach 550 wickets in First-class matches
  • MS Crane needs 7 wickets to reach 50 wickets in First-class matches at Southampton
  • LA Dawson needs 7 wickets to reach 200 wickets in First-class matches
  • LA Dawson needs 8 wickets to reach 100 wickets in First-class matches at Southampton
  • JK Fuller needs 9 wickets to reach 150 wickets in First-class matches
  • JE Root needs 10 wickets to reach 50 wickets in First-class matches

Match preview stats

  • Of the last 16 County Championship matches between these two sides, 12 have finished in draws. Yorkshire have won three and lost one of the remaining four.
  • Hampshire’s last win on their home ground against Yorkshire was in 2008.
  • When Yorkshire won both County Championship matches against Hampshire in 2015 it was their 14th double against these opponents. Hampshire’s only double against Yorkshire was in 2006.
  • Hampshire’s highest individual innings in these matches – 300 not out by Michael Carberry in 2011 – is the only triple-century scored against Yorkshire for any county in the official County Championship (from 1890).
  • The third-wicket partnership of 523 which Carberry shared with Neil McKenzie in the same innings is the highest for any wicket against Yorkshire in all cricket.

Last time out

  • 20 – 23 June 2018
  • Hampshire 443
  • Yorkshire 350 & 263/6
  • Specsavers County Championship Division One 2018, The Ageas Bowl, Southampton

Harry Brook and Jack Leaning hit crucial half-centuries as Yorkshire confidently batted out the final day of their floodlit pink ball clash with Hampshire at The Ageas Bowl to secure their second draw of the season.

Yorkshire started the day at 91-2 in their second innings, trailing by two, and slipped to 112-4 early on as they lost Gary Ballance and Che Pujara.

At that stage, the lead was only 19, but Brook and Leaning united to share 108 either side of lunch to ensure a 10-point haul from a fixture played out on a turgid pitch.

Yorkshire declared their second innings at 7.50pm on 263-6, a lead of 170.

Brook made 68 off 101 balls and Leaning 54 not out off 191.

Specsavers County Championship Division One table

Specsavers County Championship Division Two table

Competition stats

Yorkshire’s County Championship Statistics

The opposition


  • Director of Cricket: Giles White, First-team manager: Adrian Birrell
  • Captain: James Vince
  • 2018: CC 5th in Div 1, RL50 Winners, T20 8th in South

Hampshire beat Yorkshire in the semi-finals on their way to Royal London one-day Cup success, with captain James Vince starring.

It would be no surprise to see consistent runs in 2019 earning him an England recall after a few years of being in and out of the national set-up.

The Ageas Bowl side put a few years of relegation battles behind them with a solid fifth placed finish in Division One, just pipped to fourth by Yorkshire at the death.

Craig White left his role as head coach almost immediately after the end of the season, replaced by ex-Ireland coach Adrian Birrell.

Aneurin Donald, Keith Barker and James Fuller have all joined, while Jimmy Adams (retired but is now on the coaching staff), Sean Ervine and Reece Topley have departed. Sri Lanka opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne will be available for the first 10 Championship matches and the Royal London one-day Cup.


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