A superb career best six-wicket haul for the brilliant George Hill helped Yorkshire limit the early damage done by Lancashire opener Keaton Jennings during a seesaw day one of the Roses clash at Emirates Old Trafford.
After a five-and-a-half-week break for the Royal London Cup and the Hundred, LV= Insurance County Championship cricket has returned to the schedule for the final month of the 2022 summer.
And what a day of cricket it provided as Hill put the skids under a Lancashire side who were 180-0 and closed on 272-8 having elected to bat.
For the first two sessions, things did not go to plan for the visitors as Jennings underpinned his side’s serene progression, the left-hander moving towards a record-breaking century.
However, Hill put an entirely different complexion on the day.
Left-handed Jennings posted 119 off 236 balls, which represented his fourth Roses hundred in as many Championship innings.
The first batter in the history of this fixture to achieve the feat was later bowled by Hill, the skilful seamer who took five of his six wickets in 41 balls for the concession of only five runs after tea.
In fact, the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth wickets were all taken with a replacement ball after the original one was hit into a puddle beyond the boundary.
This was Hill’s first bowling action since mid-July following a broken toe.
Jennings shared 180 inside 63 overs with opening partner Luke Wells, who made 84 before falling caught in the deep off Hill on the cusp of tea.
They excelled on a friendly pitch showing signs of a bit of extra bounce but little else in terms of help for seam or spin.
At least that was the way it looked before Hill made onlookers think otherwise!
Yorkshire’s new ball pair Ben Coad and Jordan Thompson bowled well without reward in the opening exchanges.
The visitors prevented Lancashire getting away from them, keeping their hosts at a scoring rate under three runs per over. And it later brought reward.
A key early moment came inside the morning’s final half hour when Steve Patterson dropped Wells on 43 off Dom Bess, the ball after the off-spinner had been hoisted for a six down the ground.
Jennings cut well and was more than happy to use his feet against seam and spin to hit over the top.
Wells drove confidently and played handsomely through midwicket. Like Jennings, he was also more than happy to go over the top.
Yorkshire started this fixture only 19 points clear of second-bottom Somerset in Division One.
This is the first of four remaining games for new captain Jonny Tattersall and co.
Lancashire, meanwhile, are chasing the first of three wins they hope will maintain their title hopes. Sat third in the table, they were 34 points behind leaders Surrey before a ball was bowled here.
Hill struck first when Wells miscued an attempted pull out to Matthew Waite at deep square-leg in the penultimate over before tea.
Hill’s bowling has been curtailed after he suffered a broken toe batting during the Championship defeat against Surrey at Scarborough in mid-July.
Jennings did not let the departure of Wells deter him, as he looked to back up scores of 114, 132 and 238 in Roses Championship matches dating back to the start of last season.
He reached his latest century off 220 balls, passing 9,000 career first-class runs on the way.
Jennings and new partner Josh Bohannon put their foot down after the former’s milestone was reached. Jennings hit back-to-back boundaries twice off Hill and Bess, while Bohannon took three in a row off another Bess over.
But Hill stymied the progression when he had Jennings bowled with one that angled back in at him, leaving the score at 231-2 in the 75th.
Further success came when Bohannon was well caught at cover by a diving Bean.
And then Tom Kohler-Cadmore took three catches at first slip, Dane Vilas, Steven Croft and George Balderson departing as the score fell to 251-6 in the 87th.
Croft had earlier been dropped on nought by Adam Lyth at mid-wicket, with the ball ricocheting up into the fielder’s face. He left the field with a suspected bust nose.
The day ended when Coad trapped Tom Hartley lbw and had Tom Bailey caught behind in the day’s penultimate over, capping a stunning turnaround.
Meanwhile, Matthew Fisher sub-fielded and bowled in the middle before the start of play today as he closes in on a return to action following a stress fracture in his back. He is expected to play second-team cricket next week.