Adam Lyth celebrated his 200th career appearance in the Vitality County Championship with an expert century in tricky batting conditions to give Yorkshire the early advantage before a Northamptonshire fightback evened things up on day one at Wantage Road today.

Yorkshire’s highly-skilled opener, their highly-dependable opener too, was the mainstay of very useful 312-7 from 96 overs having been invited to bat first on a chilly and largely overcast South Midlands day. 

He posted 109 off 205 balls before falling just before tea, gaining valuable support from captain Shan Masood, who contributed 6o off 128.  

A green pitch meant it was no surprise when the hosts elected to bowl first upon winning the toss. But the home bowlers failed to make that choice count until the evening when they did erode Yorkshire’s position of strength with five wickets, including Masood, as the visitors fell from 229-2 to 281-7. 

There was clear help on offer, including signs of uneven bounce, but they just weren’t penetrative enough for the first two sessions and, despite not leaking runs at an alarming rate, allowed 36-year-old Lyth to lay the platform with help mainly from Masood, the pair sharing 116 for the second wicket through the majority of the afternoon. 

This wasn’t left-hander Lyth at his most free-flowing, the eye-catching player Yorkshire’s fans have come to know and love. But it was an equally impressive innings nonetheless. However, just as Northamptonshire improved after tea, Yorkshire struggled.

Adam Lyth

Picture by John Heald. Adam Lyth celebrates his third Championship century of 2024.

Lyth was watchful and determined, yet still drove beautifully. He also worked nicely off his legs and dabbed two or three of his 11 boundaries down to third.

It was an innings very much in the mould of the one he played on day three at Sussex on Sunday – the steadfast 73 which went unrewarded when he was prised from the crease by a beauty of an Ollie Robinson short ball. Hopefully this innings yields a different result in a few days’ time.

There were a couple of milestones for the Whitby Lara today. 

Not only was this his 200th Championship appearance following a debut in May 2007, he also notched his 14,000th first-class run upon reaching 17 this morning. 

He and opener Fin Bean shared 86 inside 28 overs, the former falling in the penultimate over of the morning for 18 when he was bowled by Germany international Justin Broad’s seam with an in-ducker which beat him through the gate.

Incidentally, for those Tennis fans amongst you, Broad’s father Neil is a former UK number one and an ex-doubles partner of Tim Henman and even Roger Federer.

Lyth and Bean

Picture by John Heald. Adam Lyth and Fin Bean prepare to open up this morning.

Both sides came into this fixture without a win in six Championship matches so far this season. 

Yorkshire have handed a debut to Sri Lankan fast bowler Vishwa Fernando as one of two changes from the Sussex game. He has come in for injured Ben Coad (back), while young batter Will Luxton is playing only his second Championship match having replaced Joe Root.

That we didn’t see Fernando in action on day one was a positive. That we didn’t see Luxton at the crease until midway through the evening was an indication that Yorkshire were going nicely before the latter flurry of dismissals.

Lyth and Masood came together just before lunch and batted through until just before tea, where Yorkshire reached at 204-2 from 64 overs. 

In the latter stages of the afternoon, Lyth had reached his third century of the summer off 193 balls. But he fell caught and bowled off Luke Procter’s seam following a miscued push – 202-2 after 61 overs. 

Masood’s progress wasn’t quite as plain-sailing. 

Masood 50

Picture by John Heald. James Wharton (l) congratulates Shan Masood en-route to his fifty.

The Pakistan international was dropped on seven at second slip by Emilio Gay off his opposition skipper Procter and, on 42, survived both a huge lbw appeal from off-spinner Rob Keogh before a missed stumping the next ball.

Masood reached his fifty off 117 balls early in the evening session, though fell not long after when he was caught at slip off Indian overseas seamer Siddharth Kaul, leaving Yorkshire on 229-3 in the 73rd over.

Unfortunately, that was the first of three wickets to fall at 10-run intervals as the visitors fell to 249-5 in the 80th over. Kaul struck again when he had George Hill lbw playing to leg for eight before Wharton, who had just hoisted Keogh for a straight six, was bowled off his thigh having tried to pull at the same bowler, falling for 21. 

Procter then had Luxton and Jonny Tattersall, for 12 and 14, caught at second slip by Gay, leaving Yorkshire at 281-7 after 86 overs.

Thankfully, there was no further damage as Matthew Revis and Jordan Thompson, with 18 and 14 respectively, took the visitors beyond the 300-mark.

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