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Ballance comes to Yorkshire's rescue

— 21 June 2018

Scorecard

Gary Ballance posted his first hundred of the summer as Yorkshire enjoyed an impressive opening day against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

The former captain hit 109 off 186 balls and led the recovery from 21-3 as the White Rose started their sixth Specsavers County Championship match with 315-7 from 96 overs.

Ballance shared a stand of 143 for the fourth wicket either side of lunch with Harry Brook, who also impressed for 79 off 115 against the pink Kookaburra ball after Steve Patterson had won the toss.

South Africa international fast bowler Dale Steyn was Hampshire’s biggest threat with 4-48 from 25 overs, but he did not receive a great deal of support.

His compatriot and fellow seamer Kyle Abbott conceded 39 in his first five overs, including three boundaries in his first to Ballance, who has now posted three 100 plus scores in his last three innings at this venue.

Last April, the left-hander scored a century and a double century in a high-scoring draw.

Hampshire struck five balls into the match when ex-West Indies quick Fidel Edwards trapped Alex Lees lbw for a duck before Steyn uprooted Che Pujara’s off and middle stumps – also for a duck – as Yorkshire slipped to 10-2 inside six overs.

That quickly became 21-3 when Adam Lyth, having scored all the runs up to that point, feathered Gareth Berg’s seamers behind in the 12th.

From there, Yorkshire advanced with some comfort on a pitch offering little assistance, although they had to be on their guard against Steyn, who is playing on a short-term deal as Hampshire’s overseas player as he bids to return to the international arena following shoulder and heel injuries.

His second wicket was that of Brook, trapped lbw midway through the afternoon session as the score fell to 164-4 in the 49th over.

By that stage, Brook had progressed confidently against seam and spin, lofting on-loan offie Ollie Rayner for a straight six towards the Pavilion in his first over.

Brook reached his fifty off 74 balls before Ballance got there off 99.

Last season, there were some doubts as to whether Ballance would be able to play pink ball floodlit cricket due to a colourblindness issue.

But he was confident he would be fine, although did not bat in a rain-affected draw against Surrey at Emerald Headingley having been called up by the England Lions.

And for the vast majority of this innings, he looked in complete control.

However, 4.4 overs after tea, with the floodlights now on and batting at its trickiest, he failed to pick up a short ball from Steyn, who had switched from the Hotel to the Pavilion End, and miscued it to mid-wicket as the score fell to 235-5 in the 69th.

In Steyn’s next, Yorkshire slipped to six down as Jonny Tattersall poked to second slip for six on his first-class debut.

Jack Leaning, who shared 71 with Ballance for the fifth wicket, added a patient and important 39 as Yorkshire looked to top 300. But he fell in the 86th over when he chopped Edwards onto his stumps as the score fell to 277-7.

Yorkshire went beyond 300 in the 92nd over as captain Steve Patterson cut Edwards for a couple of boundaries. He will begin day two on 18 with Tim Bresnan on 33.

Play was watched by a crowd of 850, comfortably Hampshire’s lowest of the season so far.

Watch match highlights from Day 1.

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