Harry Brook’s fifth career first-class century helped to put Yorkshire in a commanding position after two days against Gloucestershire at Bristol.
All of Brook’s hundreds so far have come in LV= Insurance County Championship victories, and there is every chance of that trend continuing after his superb 164-ball 101 helped the visitors respond to a first-innings 227 with 334-8 inside 111 overs.
Brook, 23, played beautifully, though was not without fortune – nearly run out on 18 and dropped on 99.
This is a player who has spent time away in Australia, the Caribbean and Pakistan playing T20 cricket over the winter, including an England debut in Barbados in January.
He also scored a couple of red ball friendly centuries for Yorkshire in pre-season over the last month, and it was clear to see he is brimming with confidence.
Strong all around the wicket, though particularly dominant against anything short outside off-stump, he moved into the nineties after tea with a lovely on drive for four off Ryan Higgins before viciously pulling him for six over mid-wicket later in the over.
Yorkshire started the day on 37-0 and lost George Hill and debutant James Wharton cheaply, along with Adam Lyth for 52, during the morning session.
Brook came to the crease at 115-3 in the 40th over and shared in crucial partnerships of 91 for the fifth wicket with Harry Duke (34) and 71 for the sixth with Dom Bess (36).
Inevitably, this century will lead to talk of an England Test call-up.
Anyone who scores heavily at this stage of the season, pre the international summer beginning, will always be mooted as a runner and rider.
And it would not surprise you with the Burley-in-Wharfedale star.
As aforementioned, all his previous career first-class centuries have come in victories – against Essex at Chelmsford in 2018, twice against Somerset at Headingley (2018) and Scarborough (2021) and also Northamptonshire away last year.
Clearly, he likes batting against South West counties!
Hill and Wharton, for three and four, fell before lunch when caught behind off Ajeet Singh Dale and bowled leaving alone against Higgins – 48-2 in the 22nd over of the innings, the seventh of the day.
The contributions of Lyth, Dawid Malan, Duke and Bess were also key in advancing Yorkshire’s cause.
Lyth’s 52 was ended when he drove at the medium pace of Ben Charlesworth and was caught at slip, bringing Brook to the crease at (115-3).
When Malan played on to Singh Dale for 39 and lost his leg-stump shortly after lunch, the game was very much in the balance at 135-4 in the 45th over, a deficit of 92.
So the partnership of 91 between Brook and his fellow Harry, Duke, was probably the key stand of the day.
After a run out scare for Brook when sent back by Duke, the pair otherwise calmly advanced Yorkshire’s cause.
Duke and later Bess both played in similarly stoic fashion.
Duke fell late in the afternoon when caught behind off Pakistan left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar – 226-5 in the 74th over – before Bess edged Josh Shaw behind midway through the evening as the score fell to 297-6 in the 97th over.
At that time, Brook was actually on 99.
And he was dropped on that score by Tom Lace at second slip off Charlesworth’s bowling – low down to his left.
Thankfully, he survived and was able to pick up a single towards backward point – his strongest scoring area – to reach three figures off 161 balls with 11 fours and one six.
He fell an over later when he played on to former Yorkshire team-mate Shaw (308-7 in the 101st).
The visitors fell 16 runs short of a fourth batting bonus point at the end of the day, with Matthew Fisher edging the spin of Graeme van Buuren behind in the final over. Jordan Thompson finished 31 not out.