By Graham Hardcastle, Paul Dyson and Jonathan Doidge

Steve Patterson admits that whilst being extremely pleased with Yorkshire’s start to their Specsavers County Championship campaign with two wins and a draw, there is one area highlighted for improvement – to be ahead of the game from the off.

The White Rose play at Emerald Headingley for the first time in four-day cricket this season, starting on Monday, against a Hampshire side who sit second in Division One.

Yorkshire, third in the table, have drawn one and won two from their first three away games against Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and, most recently, Kent. Hampshire have won three from four.

In the draw at Notts and the victory over Kent, Yorkshire had to battle back from early strife, whereas it was early domination in the innings win over Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, with coach Andrew Gale describing it as “the perfect four-day performance”.

“We’re only three games in, but we’ve started well,” said captain Patterson.

“The first day to day-and-a-half at Trent Bridge wasn’t great, but since then we’ve played bloomin’ good cricket.

“The challenge with a young side is to keep that up, to keep that consistency.

“We showed on day one at Kent that if you’re off it, you can be really up against it. I think we were six down inside 28 overs. On another day, you aren’t coming back.

“Somehow, we managed to stay in the game, got over 200, which gave us a fighting chance. Then, from the middle of day two onwards, we drove the game.

“It’s pleasing to win a game when you have to work as hard as we did, but we’ve spoken about it – we need to get ahead of the game and win that way.

“If we’re going to be a really good side, competing with the best teams, we knows that’s something we need to improve on. Hopefully we can do that against Hampshire.

“But three games on the road, it’s not easy. So a draw and two wins is absolutely fantastic.”

Yorkshire now have back-to-back games at Headingley, with Essex also visiting.

There has often been more in the Headingley pitches for the bowlers, and Patterson believes that will continue despite the introduction of the new rule on the use of the roller.

Last year, only the light roller could be used once the game had started, whereas this year both teams get use of the heavy roller once apiece once the game begins.

“We know how to play at home, and we’re confident,” said Patterson.

“With the new rule with the roller, I think the pitches are going to be slightly better than we’ve seen over the last couple of years. But I don’t think it will make much difference at Headingley.

“We’ve played on two very good pitches at Hampshire and Kent and have taken 20 wickets on both occasions, so we’re confident.

“We know if we get enough runs, we’ll go close to taking 20 wickets.”

Yorkshire will be without Tim Bresnan for the next four to six weeks due to a left calf tear and Matthew Waite (ankle). David Willey is set to feature after his World Cup omission.

Hampshire will be without World Cup duo James Vince and Liam Dawson, so Sam Northeast will captain the side. Both Northeast and Indian Test batsman Ajinkya Rahane scored centuries in beating Notts on the Isle of Wight earlier this week.

Team news

14-MAN SQUAD TO FACE HAMPSHIRE IN THE SPECSAVERS COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP

Gary Ballance
Ed Barnes
Dom Bess
Harry Brook
Ben Coad
Jack Leaning
Adam Lyth
Duanne Olivier
Mathew Pillans
Steven Patterson (Captain)
Josh Poysden
Jonathan Tattersall (Wicketkeeper)
Tom Kohler-Cadmore
David Willey

The Club’s physiotherapist Kunwar Bansil said…

“I think the earliest we’ll get Bres (Tim Bresnan) back will be four weeks from now. He’s got a calf injury so we need to be careful with the role he plays and his importance within the team. We’ll work hard to get him right as quickly as we can but we won’t be rushing him back.

“He’s got a left calf tear. The nature of the injury to his calf, and the role he plays, he’s an all-rounder with a high workload so preparing him for that naturally takes a bit longer.

“James Logan is going nicely and is in full training this week with a view to being available the week after.

“Josh Shaw took three weeks to get over a quad injury and he played a week or so in the second team and he’s with Gloucester now, fit and fighting to go.

“Matthew Fisher has been playing consistently, its just about him building up his match fitness and his confidence and he seems to be on the right track with that.

“Matthew Waite missed out on the last game and we decided to inject him last week. Unfortunately, he’s still feeling pain in his ankle when he bowls so we’re going to have to refer him back to specialist.”

Graham Hardcastle says…

Yorkshire return to action after a week’s break with confidence high.

Their first home Championship game of the season comes on the back of two wins and a draw on the road.

They are seeking the double against a Hampshire side who they beat at the Ageas Bowl last month, but one who are now one place above them in the Division Two table and a different animal as a result.

Hampshire have played four and won three.

Make no mistake, they will be a tough nut to crack despite being without James Vince and Liam Dawson.

Vince has been a thorn in Yorkshire’s side down the years, so that is a huge boost to have him unavailable because of World Cup commitments.

But stand-in captain Sam Northeast is in excellent form with the bat and Indian Test star Ajinkya Rahane scored a debut ton in the win over Notts on the Isle of Wight earlier this week.

Hampshire have the RL50 final against Somerset at Lord’s to contend with this weekend, so they really could be flying high with a win there.

As Steve Patterson says, it is important for Yorkshire to get ahead early and not have to worry about recovering from early strife, as they did at Kent.

David Willey’s inclusion is important. He comes back at the right time in the sense of injures to Tim Bresnan and Matthew Waite.

But it is also important that he gets some good performances behind him so that he’s ready if and when England need him should there be any World Cup injuries.

This has all the makings of an absolute cracker.

Jonathan Doidge says…

After their Royal London One Day Cup exit, it was great to see Yorkshire get back on the horse at Canterbury recently, with what was ultimately a decisive success against Kent in red ball cricket. The win was more noteworthy when considering that they were 96-6 on the first day, having won the toss. While that hadn’t exactly gone according to plan, it was the way that the team worked to get themselves into the ascendancy on the days two and three that was particularly impressive. Then, after one or two hiccups, they were clinical enough to see it through.

Hats off to Gary Ballance (who else?!) for yet another first class ‘ton’, taking him past 700 runs in all competitions already this season. Phenomenal. From the commentary box, it was also great to see Jack Leaning dig in and play so well in combining with Gary to put on the defining partnership of the match.

We were then treated to more from the burgeoning opening bowling partnership of Ben Coad and Duanne Olivier, both asking different questions of the Kent batsmen, and complementing each other really well as they took the attack to the opposition. Tim Bresnan’s calf injury on the final day was, of course, a negative.

As a result of that, there is an enforced change to the team that hosts Hampshire, and after the disappointment of his exclusion from England’s World Cup squad, David Willey looks like a ready made replacement. David’s mood was palpable in his tweet on the day that the squad was announced, but his attitude in wishing those selected well said much about him as a sportsman and as a professional. England’s decision will be Yorkshire’s gain.

Having proved that they can take 20 wickets on good, placid pitches such as the Ageas Bowl in last month’s big win against Hants, Yorkshire are certainly capable of doing the same on their home patch. The visitors, of course, merit respect. After all, they moved into second place, one above the Tykes, with last week’s win against Nottinghamshire. However, after a torrid time at the hands of Olivier on their home patch, it’s hard to imagine that the Hampshire batsmen will relish revisiting those memories quite so soon.

There is also the small matter of the Royal London One Day Cup decider, win or lose, a number of Hampshire’s squad will be back in action just 48-hours later than their Lord’s exertions. However, it will perhaps be the euphoria or disappointment, and not the physical demands of a quick return to action, that could be more difficult to overcome.

Whatever happens, it will be great to see championship action back on the Emerald Headingley agenda, and we’ll have every ball ‘live’ on the BBC Sport website and app, whether you are in the stadium or not, so please make a point of joining Kevan James, Dave Townsend and myself throughout the four days.

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