Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club – 12/03/2018 – Potchefstroom

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Andrew Gale says day one centurion Harry Brook has set the example for Yorkshire’s batsmen to follow this season after hitting 154 against Nottinghamshire in Potchefstroom today.

Brook, 19 and aiming for more regular first-team cricket this summer, made the perfect start to that bid on the opening day of Yorkshire’s pre-season match programme.

The England under 19s captain underpinned an impressive day for the county as they posted 305-6 from 90 overs. Notts will bat tomorrow at the Wiltrand Cricket Field in Potch.

Brook mastered an attack including Mark Footitt and Harry Gurney, who have been in and around England’s senior Test and white ball teams at stages in their careers.

And, not surprisingly, he was delighted with his efforts.

“It was an unbelievable start to an unbelievable tour so far,” said the right-hander.

“The weather has been amazing. The pitch was quite slow and low, so it was easy to bat on.

“You did have to work quite hard though because the ball wasn’t coming on as fast. You couldn’t just play your shots and rely on timing for it to go to the boundary. You had to try and force it a bit.

“This is what I train hard for. All the boundaries were probably my strongest shots. I try to stick to three shots, which are the drive, cut and off the hips, so anything there I back myself to hit for a boundary.”

Coach Gale was just as chuffed.

He said: “We’ve spoken a lot about our batting and being ruthless, and Harry Brook epitomised that today.

“He had to work hard to get in on a slow pitch, but when he got in he went big. For us to be successful this year, that’s exactly what we have to do. We need to be ruthless, and I thought it as a very special innings.

“He was in control and never looked like getting out. He’s had a fantastic winter with England U19s, and he’s carried on that rich vein of form. He’s put his name in the hat for that first game I guess already.”

This was Brook’s third century of 2018 having scored two for the Under 19s at the World Cup in New Zealand through January; one in competition and one in a warm-up match.

Today, he hit 21 fours and a six in 209 balls before retiring, and he was backed up by scores of 37 from Tim Bresnan and 26 not out apiece from Matthew Waite and Jonny Tattersall.

Areas for improvement will come in the form of further contributions from Yorkshire’s top order. No one else from their top six made it beyond 15. But that is for another day. This was all about Harry.

After Notts elected to bowl first, Alex Lees had made an encouraging start with a couple of early boundaries. But an early blow came when Tom Kohler-Cadmore misjudged a leave off Luke Wood and was bowled. Kohler-Cadmore failed to score in his first outing of 2018, facing just six balls during a sweltering morning.

That brought Brook to the crease.

Having taken an over or two to settle, he produced several gloriously timed drives to put some early runs on the board.

Lees, who had looked assured throughout the morning, feathered behind to stand-in wicketkeeper Tshole Phukuile off Gurney in the 12th over. He had managed 14, with Yorkshire now 42-2.

Brook hit back-to-back boundaries the following over and a couple more in the 16th just before drinks, showing great sleight of hand in clipping one down to third man and producing yet another well-timed cover drive.

Brook’s boundary to the off side in the 23rd over off the bowling of Ben Kitt took him beyond the 50-mark in what was a fine morning’s work for the Burley-in-Wharfedale product.

But, with lunch fast approaching, captain Gary Ballance, who had to battle for nine, nicked Kitt behind.

Jack Leaning played out the remaining four overs before lunch, with a couple of boundaries taking him to a quickfire 10.

Brook, who resumed after lunch on 60 with Yorkshire 100-3, worked well with Leaning in keeping the scoreboard ticking.

He continued to find the boundary with regularity, and the pair looked well set. That was until Notts turned to spin in the shape of Matthew Carter – and they got their reward when he trapped Leaning lbw.

Just as he did in the morning, Brook led a response in which 15 runs came just two overs later. By this time, he had been joined at the crease by Andrew Hodd.

Hodd’s brief stay – 18 balls in all – ended with the pair pushing for a quick single and Footitt hitting the stumps to affect a run out.

Into the nineties for Brook, and he pulled Footitt for four and then once more a ball later. Then came the moment as Brook brought up his ton off 146 balls, including 16 fours.

It was a single that saw him to the milestone, and this super showing will do a great deal for his confidence in red ball cricket. But it wasn’t to stop there.

He continued to add runs with the help of Bresnan, with the pair sharing a 103-run stand to advance the score from 145-5.

When Brook surpassed 150 with a thumping six over mid-wicket, he retired. You could fully understand why, deep down, he wanted to carry on.

Bresnan soon followed him back to the pavilion, with Connor Marshall grabbing a simple, looping return catch.

Bresnan’s 37 left the White Rose on 255-6, with Waite and Tattersall taking the game on with a 50-run alliance.

They made steady progress, with Tattersall pummelling a six over mid-wicket to finish the batting for Yorkshire.

On the day two prospects, Gale added: “It’s going to be a slog, there’s no doubt about that.

“You come up on pitches like that in county cricket all the time, so we need to find a way. I think if we bowl straight and set straight fields, we can do some damage.”

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