Andrew Gale says the best is yet to come from Yorkshire, despite securing an impressive 48-run victory over Sussex at Hove this weekend.
The White Rose have now drawn one and won two of their opening three LV= Insurance County Championship fixtures and are sitting pretty in the Group Three table.
This fixture saw Gale’s side bowled out for 150 in their first innings before a revival was capped off by six second-innings wickets for Dom Bess in defence of a 235 target.
Sussex were bowled out for 188 just after midday on day four, which they started on 136-6.
“It was a fantastic win from where we were on the first day,” said coach Gale.
“We we were disappointed and didn’t do ourselves justice. We can be better than that. But the character, resilience and attitude we showed from then on, we did fantastically well.
“To win by a decent margin in the end, I’m really proud of them.”
Gale was frustrated when he spoke at the end of day one as Yorkshire slipped from 60-0 to 150 all out having won the toss.
“We’re by no means playing our best cricket, he continued.
“You look at two out of the three games, Glamorgan and here, our first-innings batting has not been great. It’s an issue.
“The good thing is we’re still winning games even though there are areas we can improve.
“But we talk about it and certainly have the personnel to make big first-innings scores. We just have to start putting them on the board because you can’t keep winning games in that fashion.
“Though we’ve shown immense character, our aim is to be playing against the best teams in the country when the groups split. And we have to make first-innings runs against them.
“How much improvement we have in us, only time will tell. You are always searching for the perfect game, and we haven’t come anywhere near it yet.
“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved here, but we’ll continue to work hard and improve.”
Gale also spoke about the importance of the 10th-wicket partnership of 51 between David Willey and Duanne Olivier in the second innings.
“There are always key periods in four-day cricket,” he said. “Although we underperformed in the first innings, we’ve won the key periods from then on.
“To bowl them out for 220 (in the first innings) and a 70-lead was crucial. Had they got 250 plus, it would have been difficult.
“And that partnership between Dave and Duanne was massive. It gave us momentum and created a lot of doubt for them.”
Gale confirmed that England Test captain Joe Root will miss Thursday’s clash with Northamptonshire at Emerald Headingley in order to rest.
Root will then return to Yorkshire colours ahead of the opening Test series of the summer against New Zealand in early June.
Will Fraine will replace him in the side after his 186 in the second-team last week.
“Rooty will come back against Kent and probably play against Glamorgan. That’s then likely to be our lot, I reckon,” said Gale, who also gave an update on injured seam bowling duo Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher.
Coad is recovering from a pectoral injury and Fisher an abdominal problem, both suffered during the opening round draw against Glamorgan at the start of the month. The pair, however, are back bowling again.
“They won’t be available next week,” said Gale. “Fish will go with the second team to get somewhere near his workloads and give him and us confidence he can get through a game.
“Coady will practice all week back at Headingley.
“We’ll see where we are at the end of the next week. Hopefully we’ll have a few more seamers to choose from.”
And on Bess’s performance here at Hove, which included his first wicket of the summer for Yorkshire in the first innings, Gale added: “I thought he was a bit unlucky in the first two games. I thought he bowled some nice lines and lengths.
“Our message to him was, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing and the rewards will come’.
“With more in the pitch for him in the second innings, turn and bounce, he put the ball in good areas and got those rewards.
“That’s why we signed him. We needed a frontline spinner to control the run-rate when it’s not spinning and come right into the game when it offers a bit.
“It was shrewd captaincy to bring Rooty on for an over to change things up this morning. He’s a golden arm and broke it open.
“But Dom’s performed outstanding well.”