Adam Lyth’s brilliant 115 led a strong Yorkshire reply to Sussex’s first-innings 216 on day two of the LV= Insurance County Championship match at Headingley.
Lyth shared 94 inside 22 overs either side of lunch with opening partner Fin Bean, who continued his fine season with a pleasing 45 after the final four Sussex wickets had fallen for 96 runs in their first innings.
In hitting 18 fours in 175 balls, he also shared 84 for the second wicket with Ryan Rickelton, who added a confident 46, and 80 for the third wicket with Dawid Malan as Yorkshire closed on 286-4, leading by 70. Malan will begin day three unbeaten on 51.
Sussex advanced from 120-6 overnight, with Matthew Fisher finishing with 4-69 from 16 overs. But he didn’t strike today. Loanee left-arm spinner Dan Moriarty claimed two of them, including Sussex’s top-scorer Fynn Hudson-Prentice superbly caught at long-on by substitute fielder Matthew Revis for 73.
Play took place in glorious Leeds sunshine throughout the day.
At close last night, Sussex head coach Paul Farbrace – Yorkshire’s former second-team coach – said that Sussex felt 200 would be a good total in the first innings due to the fact they felt the pitch wouldn’t get any better.
Well, that wasn’t how today played out, thankfully, with Yorkshire batting confidently on a true pitch with good pace.
The signs were there early on today when Sussex batted.
All-rounder Hudson-Prentice and Australian overseas Nathan McAndrew had come together late on day one at 76-6, and they advanced their seventh-wicket partnership to 94. McAndrew added 47.
The pair made use of easing batting conditions in today’s bright sunshine against a home attack who got better as the morning session progressed.
Sussex’s first innings was wrapped up just 1pm, with Moriarty claiming two of the final three wickets to fall. Seamers Mark Steketee and Jordan Thompson struck once apiece.
Steketee made the breakthrough when he had compatriot McAndrew bowled off an inside-edge (170-7) before Hudson-Prentice was superbly caught by Revis – on the field for Lyth at the time – running back at long-on off Moriarty.
When Ari Karvelas pulled Thompson to wide long-leg in the next over, where Matthew Fisher took the catch, Sussex were 211-9 in the 69th over of the innings. And Moriarty then trapped Henry Crocombe lbw as Yorkshire claimed the last three wickets in as many overs.
Seventy six out of the first 89 runs in Yorkshire’s reply were scored in boundaries.
Both Lyth and Bean drove well and at one stage took five fours in seven balls off the seam of Hudson-Prentice and Crocombe, taking the score to 75-0 in the 16th over.
Yorkshire didn’t bat with the flourish and speed that England did across the Pennines against Australia at the Emirates Old Trafford Test Match. But they were far from slow.
Earlier, Lyth dropped a catch in the slips and left the field seemingly nursing his hand, paving the way for Revis to take that aforementioned catch at long-on.
But he was quickly back onto the field and batted with no issues at all.
Lyth was actually dropped himself in the slips on 38, James Coles failing to hold on off Crocombe’s bowling.
And the two-time Championship winner made the most of his reprieve.
He reached his fifty off 77 balls with 11 fours, by which time Bean had edged an attempted force off the back foot against McAndrew to Coles at first slip – 94-1 in the 22nd.
Both Bean and then Lyth went beyond 600 Championship runs for the summer.
Lyth then united with home debutant Rickelton, the South African overseas left-hander who built on the earlier good work.
Rickelton, in his second of three scheduled Championship appearances whilst Shan Masood is away with Pakistan, hit the day’s only six when he shimmied down the pitch and lofted Coles’ left-arm spin over long-off.
Unfortunately, like Bean had done, he also missed out on a half-century as he edged the seam of Karvelas to second slip as he jammed down on a full ball – 178-2 in the 46th over.
Lyth then united with Malan. The former reached his century off 157 balls before falling as the first of two wickets in as many overs for off-spinner Jack Carson, leaving the score at 258-4 in the 63rd.
Lyth chipped to mid-wicket and George Hill edged to slip without scoring.
Malan ended the day by reaching his fifty off 82 balls. And while Sussex somewhat stifled Yorkshire’s momentum late in the day with those two wickets, the hosts remain in control and it will be interesting to see how tomorrow pans out with a nasty looking forecast nationwide for Saturday.
Meanwhile, Sussex captain Tom Alsop was subbed out of the game this morning with concussion having taken a blow on the helmet whilst batting against Fisher during yesterday’s first day. Charlie Tear is his replacement.