Andrew Gale hailed a “very professional performance” as Yorkshire opened their Bob Willis Trophy campaign with a six-wicket win over Durham at Emirates Riverside during today’s fourth afternoon.
Chasing 171, the White Rose advanced from 101-3 to secure victory in only 10.4 overs of play.
Dawid Malan finished with 73 on debut and Harry Brook 66 not out, the latter completing a 19-point haul in style with back-to-back sixes. They shared a fourth-wicket stand of 98 to advance the chase from 56-3 late on day three.
While both batsmen contributed significantly across both innings, Yorkshire’s seam bowlers were the ones who take most of the praise.
They were relentless and ruthless, providing the blueprint for a winning performance. Matthew Fisher led the way with six wickets in the match.
Yorkshire now travel to Trent Bridge to face Nottinghamshire on Saturday in their second North Group outing, and there will be team changes.
England’s Jonny Bairstow is a definite for the next two four-day games against Notts and Derbyshire at Emerald Headingley, while Duanne Olivier will also return.
There is unfortunate news for all-rounder Matthew Waite, however, as he suffered a torn right lat’ muscle (shoulder) on Friday, the day before this game.
Coach Gale and the backroom staff are unsure of his availability for the rest of 2020.
“I thought it was a very professional performance,” said Gale. “From ball one, we were relentless with the ball and patient.
“We had to work hard for our wickets in the second innings, but we hung in there.
“We knew if we could control the rate, we talked about which team would crack first. Then Matthew Fisher’s spell (four wickets after lunch on day three) changed the game.
“We talked about ticking off the partnerships in our first innings, and we couldn’t quite manage to do that. We could have scraped to 250 and put the game to bed. But I thought the chase there – Harry Brook’s and Dawid Malan’s partnership – was outstanding.
“Dawid, that’s the reason why we signed him. He showed all his experience to close the game out and play it as his pace.
“The guys who have shown potential for a few years are starting to put performances in.
“We’ve all seen what Harry Brook can do in glimpses, and Matthew Fisher. The challenge for them now is to back it up week in and week out. If they can do that, I’m certainly positive we can challenge for trophies.”
In terms of selection for Notts, Gale said: “First of all, we have to check out the lads tomorrow.
“There are a few niggles around. Ben Coad has got a bit of a side niggle and so has Fish. They’re 50/50 as to whether they can back it up. Saturday could come too soon for them.
“We’ve got Duanne coming back in, and Jonny is going to be available for the next two games. He’s keen to get back in the mould.
“I’m going to speak to Dave Willey to see if he might come back into the fold.
“Gary Ballance probably won’t play on Saturday’s because he’s still struggling physically.
“We have some selection headaches.
“With some young lads bowling 40 overs in the game, it’s going to be tough to back it up. There will be some rotation in there.”
Bairstow will take the gloves: “Jonny still wants to keep for England, so while he wants to do that he’s the best keeper in the country in my eyes,” said Gale.
“We’ll have a chat with him about where he wants to bat. I believe he wants to bat up the order.
“He’s excited to come back into the side. He’s dropped me a few texts this week, he rang me the other day, and he’s got the bit between his teeth. While Jonny’s in that mood, he’s a dangerous player.”
On Waite, Gale confirmed: “He’s got a torn lat. He was fine bowling last week, but then he had a bit of tightness in his lat. He bowled two balls the day before the game on the back of a fielding session and couldn’t bowl any more.
“We sent him for a scan, and it’s quite a nasty tear. It’s an injury not many people have seen, so how long it’s going to be we don’t know. We’ll have to take it week by week and see where it goes.
“Having spoken to a few specialists around the country, they’ve only really seen three of these tears – and they’re from watersports I believe.
“How he’s got that from bowling, I don’t know.”