Jack Leaning continued to reward Yorkshire’s faith in him by scoring his second half-century in three matches in their championship match against Sussex at Arundel.
The 20-year-old from York has been given his chance at No 3 following England call-ups for Joe Root and Gary Ballance while Kane Williamson has joined New Zealand’s tour of West Indies.
He has justified being given such a responsible role by scoring a career-best unbeaten 52 to help claim victory at Northampton and has followed that with an unbeaten 75 after over four hours at the crease to help Yorkshire reach 208 for three in reply to Sussex’s 316.
Leaning was called to the crease after Yorkshire suffered an untimely setback by losing Alex Lees in the over before lunch, given lbw to Australian seamer Steve Magoffin, for 22 after sharing an opening stand of 56 with Adam Lyth.
Just as he had been confronted with a hostile spell from Australian Test bowler Peter Siddle against Nottinghamshire last week, and battled through to score 41, this time he faced the combined threat of Magoffin and James Tredwell, who has joined Sussex on loan after failing to get into Kent’s championship side.
Magoffin’s height and bounce combined with Tredwell’s control restricted Yorkshire to 12 runs in the 9.3 overs after lunch and although they improved their scoring rate through the day, it was not a wicket that enabled batsmen to compile runs quickly.
Even Adam Lyth. Normally a consistently quick scorer, took 153 balls to score 66 but his patience allowed Leaning to settle and the pair added a crucial 73-run partnership for the second wicket.
Just as Yorkshire suffered a setback immediately before lunch, they suffered another blow just before tea with Lyth mis-timing an attempted pull of Magoffin that found fine leg four overs before the interval.
It was Lyth’s fifth half-century of the summer, and included six fours and two sixes off Tredwell when he advanced down the wicket and launched him over long on.
Andrew Gale, Yorkshire’s captain, also perished shortly after tea, bowled around his legs attempting to force the pace against Tredwell by trying to sweep, but Leaning settled down and forged another unbroken partnership of with Jonny Bairstow that guided Yorkshire to the close without further loss.
Sussex had resumed the second morning on 300 for nine and added 16 runs before Jon Lewis edged Jack Brooks to Aaron Finch at first slip for a crucial 61, which included eight fours and helped add a crucial 68 runs for the final wicket with Lewis Hatchett.
But Leaning’s application, facing 215 balls and hitting eight fours, ensured he forged an important unbroken 69-run stand with Jonny Bairstow, ensured Yorkshire can still take control of the match with a long batting line-up still to come.