You can say what you like about the value of net practice when it comes to learning new skills, but nothing beats cricket in the middle when you are in the final stages of your preparations for a fresh season.
After last week’s useful workout against Leeds/Bradford MCCU, Yorkshire’s cricketers enjoyed a hard but valuable three sessions in the field on the first day of their friendly match against an injury-hit Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
By close of play the home side had reached 283 for five but it was probably the intensity of the cricket that Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie found most useful as he readied his players for Sunday’s LV= Division One opener against Somerset at Taunton.
That intensity can bring its problems, though, and at no moment on the first day of this game was that more evident than in mid-afternoon when Jonny Bairstow took a painful blow on the hand when diving to collect a leg-side delivery from Liam Plunkett.
The Yorkshire and England wicketkeeper was immediately in obvious pain and left the field a few minutes later. Although he has had an X-ray on the damaged finger the precise extent of Bairstow’s injury will not be known until Wednesday morning when Yorkshire’s medical team will receive the results of the scan.
Jonathan Bairstow walks off the field with physio Kunwar Bansil
Olly Robinson immediately took over the wicketkeeping duties in Bairstow’s absence although Northants Under 17 keeper Max Levine deputised aftet tea.
Bairstow’s injury removed the gloss from what had been a valuable day for Yorkshire’s six-man attack and Gary Ballance’s predominantly woolly-hatted fielders. After 96 overs of tough play – proper cricket is what the purists call it – the home side had reached 283-5 with Matthew Spriegel 42 not out. It is expected that Northants will declare on the morrow.
Initially it had seemed that the Yorkshire bowlers were going to dominate proceedings. Steve Patterson had Stephen Peters caught behind with the sixth ball of the morning and Jack Brooks induced Kyle Coetzer to give a catch to third-slip Kane Williamson when the Northants No3 had made only 11.
However, the only other home batsman to depart in the first session was a rueful Rob Keogh who was hit on the finger by the palpably dangerous Plunkett, who without taking a wicket had a pretty destructive Tuesday. Keogh’s finger is probably broken and the Northants treatment room is full to bursting.
After Keogh’s digital mishap James Middlebrook and Andrew Hall added 123 for the third wicket against a persevering Yorkshire attack on a typically slow early season pitch. It was left to Adil Rashid to remove both batsmen before tea, Middlebrook cutting the leg-spinner straight to backward point Kane Williamson for a well-made 79 and Hall giving Rashid a return catch when he had stroked a pleasing 66.
The only wicket to fall in the quiet of the evening session was that of James Kettleborough, who lost his middle stump to Patterson having garnered a useful 28. The Beverley seamer finished with 2-51 and Rashid returned figures of 2-65. If your name wasn’t Keogh or Bairstow, you might have thought it had been a decent early season workout.
Yorkshire’s cricketers were made to wait for their wickets on the first afternoon of their three-day practice match against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
Leg spinner Adil Rashid took two wickets to leave the home side on 188-4 at tea but the most worrying aspect of the session for Tykes fans was a finger injury sustained by Jonny Bairstow when the England wicketkeeper was attempting to take a leg side delivery from seamer Liam Plunkett.
After a few minutes’ treatment Bairstow left the field but was able to resume his wicketkeeping duties before the break.
However, Yorkshire had suffered in more conventional too as James Middlebrook and Andrew Hall put on 123 with Middlebrook making 79 and Hall contributing 66 in a fluent partnership.
The visitors’ first success came late in the session when Middlebrook cut Rashid straight to Kane Williamson at backward point and was dismissed when a century seemed in prospect. Just before the break Hall was caught and bowled by Rashid for 66.
Northants 79-2 (30 overs)
Yorkshire’s seamers made good use of the dry if cold conditions at Wantage Road on the first morning of their three-day friendly against Northamptonshire. By the interval the home side had progressed to 79 for two although Rob Keogh had been forced to retire hurt on only 11 with a finger injury after being hit by a ball from Liam Plunkett.
The two orthodox successes achieved by Gary Ballance’s attack were the work of Steve Patterson and Jack Brooks. Patterson had Stephen Peters caught behind for nought by Jonny Bairstow with the sixth ball of the morning and Brooks had Kyle Coetzer pouched at third slip by Kane Williamson for 11.
However, apart from the injury sustained by Keogh, there were no further alarms for the home batsmen and James Middlebrook was unbeaten on 38 at lunch. Andrew Hall was 13 not out.
Of more importance for Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie, though, were the good workouts enjoyed by Patterson, Brooks, Plunkett and Moin Ashraf, and there was even time for a three-over spell from Adil Rashid. The Tykes begin their LV= Division One campaign on Sunday when they play Somerset at Taunton.