A century for Adam Lyth and 97 for Kane Williamson helped steer Yorkshire into a dominant position after today’s opening day of their LV= County Championship match against champions Durham at Emirates Durham.
The pair shared 179 inside 55 overs for the second wicket to help vindicate Andrew Gale’s decision to bat first on a damp pitch under overcast skies, something which raised eyebrows with a number of spectators and pundits alike.
Yorkshire closed the day on 299-3 from 96 overs, with Lyth hitting 104 off 200 balls, including 15 fours.
Incredibly, this was only the third time a team has taken a single batting bonus point off Durham on this ground since May 2012.
Yorkshire included Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan in their side for the first time this season following injury and rest respectively, with Steve Patterson left out to accommodate the latter’s inclusion.
Bairstow and Gale came back into side in place of England one-day duo Gary Ballance and Joe Root.
Alex Lees was Yorkshire’s only wicket to fall in the morning session. In fact, he was the only batsman out until the first over after tea, the 65th over.
He chased a delivery he probably needn’t have played at from left-armer Jamie Harrison and was caught behind, leaving the score at 29-1 in the eleventh.
Durham’s bowlers did not make use of help on offer through the air and off the pitch, and they did not make Yorkshire’s batsmen play enough. While Graham Onions’ figures of 0-38 from 20 overs do not look bad, he did not bowl with his usual penetration.
Lyth’s innings was not chanceless by any means, but it was eye-catching as you would expect from a left-hander who plays with a flourish.
He was dropped at third slip on 13 off a Harrison no ball and then again on 88 when an edge off Mark Wood was first of all parried at second slip by Scott Borthwick before captain Paul Collingwood failed to hold onto the rebound despite getting both hands to it.
Lyth would have also had his heart in his mouth when, on 99, he cut Collingwood airbound just wide of point to reach his hundred off 171 balls, including 15 fours.
The opener’s ton was reward for an excellent start to the summer which had not included a hundred before today.
He finally fell four balls into the evening session, the first one he had faced, when he edged Harrison to Borthwick at second slip to leave the score at 208-2 in the 65th over.
Both Williamson and Gale later offered chances into the slips.
Williamson was on 92 when he edged Wood low to Phil Mustard’s right behind the stumps before Gale, who was facing Onions with the second new ball, edged to Kumar Sangakkara at a wide third slip on 17.
Williamson then fell at the start of the next over, the 82nd, when he was bowled by Chris Rushworth for his second score of 97 against Durham in two matches dating back to last year’s fixture at Scarborough.
Gale and Bairstow added 42 inside 15 overs for the fourth wicket through until close with few alarms. Gale will resume on 35 and Bairstow on 22.
Yorkshire have been boosted by Adam Lyth’s brilliant 104 not out as they dominate Durham on day one at Emirates Durham.
He and Kane Williamson have shared an unbroken 176 for the second wicket after the visitors fell to 29-1 this morning. They have reached 204-1 from 64 overs at tea.
Lyth was dropped on 13 in the slips off a no ball and again on 88 before reaching three figures off 171 balls with 15 fours.
The second drop came when Scott Borthwick parried a chance at second slip off Mark Wood over his head only to see captain Paul Collingwood fail to hold onto the rebound.
Williamson – 68 not out – had earlier brought up his second fifty of the summer off 170 balls.
Yorkshire will be delighted with their first morning exploits with the bat against champions Durham at Emirates Durham.
Alex Lees has been the only scalp for the hosts after Andrew Gale won the toss and opted to bat, some would say boldly.
From the evidence of 30 overs of play, it looks a good decision, although Durham’s bowlers have not helped themselves as Yorkshire have reached 87-1.
There is help on offer through the air and off the pitch, but the home seamers have not made full use.
Lees was caught behind off a Jamie Harrison ball which he could have left alone, leaving the score at 29-1 in the eleventh over.
Adam Lyth and Kane Williamson have since added an unbroken 58 for the second wicket. Lyth will resume this afternoon on 39 and Williamson on 22.