George Hill shone with a superb three-wicket burst as Yorkshire edged a shortened but entertaining opening day’s play against Leicestershire at Headingley.

Both sides were on top in the opening exchanges of this Vitality County Championship Division Two clash, which only started at 3.40pm following heavy overnight rain and thus a wet outfield.

Thankfully Yorkshire ended the day holding sway, with Leicestershire having slipped from 89-1 to 115-4. They later closed on 164-5 from 46 overs.

All three of Hill’s wickets were caught in the slips, including overseas Australian opener Marcus Harris for a well made 56 with 12 boundaries. He finished with figures of 3-25 from nine overs. 

Matt Milnes had made the initial breakthrough after Shan Masood had elected to bowl, while Dan Moriarty later struck.

Make no mistake, Yorkshire’s advantage is only a slender one at this stage. Things can change with someone such as Peter Handscomb in the opposition line-up. He is unbeaten on 20.

George Hill

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Harry Brook congratulates wicket-taker George Hill.

He indicated his capability during a late partnership of 44, which aggressive England all-rounder Rehan Ahmed dominated with 28 off 22 balls before falling lbw to Moriarty’s left-arm spin just before close. Former Yorkshire overseas Handscomb was watchful.

Yorkshire will be delighted with how things turned around, and early wickets tomorrow will see them stamp their authority on the contest. 

Fringe Test left-hander Harris drove nicely and was strong off his legs during his 98-ball innings, and he gained support from Rishi Patel and Louis Kimber.

Milnes broke through with a beauty of a delivery to remove Patel bowled for 19 before Hill had Kimber caught at third slip for 24 during a marathon session of play.  

A Milnes’ nip-backer from the Howard Stand End beat Patel, driving loosely, on the inside-edge and cartwheeled his off-stump, leaving the Foxes at 43-1 inside 14 overs.

Patel was a second-innings centurion during Leicestershire’s opening round win here last year.

Matt Milnes

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Matt Milnes celebrates dismissing Rishi Patel.

Harris, meanwhile, was chasing a third career century in four innings against Yorkshire having previously reached three figures in 50-over and Championship cricket for Leicester and Gloucestershire. 

While Yorkshire would have hoped for help from early-season swing and seam with the Kookaburra ball, the job of bowling was made harder by a strong wind sweeping across the ground. 

The pitch also looks to be playing nicely, as is the norm here at Headingley.

Harris not only missed out on a half-century stand with Patel, he did so with Kimber too. 

The second-wicket pair had shared 46 by the time Kimber edged Hill low down to third slip, leaving the Foxes at 89-2 in the 26th over. 

Thirty-one-year-old Harris, who survived a run out chance on 23 – Milnes missed the stumps at the striker’s end from the gully region, went on to reach his fifty off 93 balls.

Shan Masood

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Yorkshire’s Shan Masood and Leicestershire’s Lewis Hill at the toss.

But Hill was about to strike twice in as many overs from the Howard Stand End to cheer a small but hardy crowd, who were sat in chilly sunshine.

Hill ousted Harris courtesy of extra bounce, and England star Harry Brook held on to a comfortable catch at first slip.

Leicestershire then fell from 110-3 in the 32nd over 115-4 in the 34th when Lewis Hill pushed forwards and edged George to second slip.

Handscomb and Ahmed then set about contrasting innings amidst their late fifth-wicket alliance, another which fell just short of 50 as Moriarty struck in his second over to remove Ahmed at 159-5.

Aussie Handscomb was cautious, whereas England’s Ahmed was counter-attacking. Night-watchman Scott Currie replaced the latter at the crease for the day’s final couple of overs.

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