Harry Duke’s maiden first-team fifty in only his second match was the light amidst a gloomy opening day of Yorkshire’s LV= Insurance County Championship match against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford, in which they were bowled out for 159.
Yorkshire slipped to 40-7 before lunch after Steve Patterson won his sixth toss in seven games this season.
Stung by the late omission of Gary Ballance following a calf injury sustained in training earlier this week, the visitors were put under the cosh in front of Old Trafford’s first crowd in 617 days – just under 2,000.
A minority of those were Yorkshire fans, who would have had their heads in hands as wickets fell at an alarming rate in what look to be good batting conditions.
However, either side of lunch, 19-year-old wicketkeeper Duke, who made 52 off 120 balls, united with captain Patterson (27) to share 77 for the eighth wicket and add respectability to proceedings.
But Lancashire closed on 95-1 from 31 overs in reply, Duanne Olivier taking the only wicket.
Yorkshire’s total was further boosted by an entertaining 10th-wicket partnership of 38 between Ben Coad and Olivier just before tea, with Coad cracking 32 not out.
Buoyed by the recovery, yes. But the White Rose will be mightily frustrated at more batting issues which have dogged them throughout 2021.
This is a good batting pitch – pace and even bounce.
New ball seamer Tom Bailey was the pick of Lancashire’s bowlers with 3-6 from 14 overs, ably supported by two wickets apiece for fellow seamers Luke Wood and Danny Lamb.
Bailey had Will Fraine – Ballance’s replacement – caught behind with a beauty as he and Saqib Mahmood bowled well up front.
But Adam Lyth, Harry Brook and Dom Bess were all avoidable top six dismissals.
Lyth was caught in the gully on the drive at Bailey, leaving Yorkshire at 4-1 in the fifth over.
Brook was later run out for a duck having been called through for a single to cover by Tom Kohler-Cadmore – 9-3 in the eleventh over.
And Bess was caught in the gully cutting at Wood’s left-arm seam as Yorkshire fell to 21-5 in the 17th over.
Fraine also fell for a duck, George Hill for two in his first game of the season having replaced Joe Root in the side, and Kohler-Cadmore and Jordan Thompson for 10 apiece as the score fell to 40-7 after 25 overs.
Wicketkeeper Duke and Patterson united in the latter stages of the morning and actually looked reasonably comfortable at the crease through until the second half of the afternoon against a Lancashire attack whose levels dropped.
They took very few risks, with Patterson having to navigate a period of short-pitched bowling from around the wicket into his ribs from Mahmood.
But he did it well, alongside wicketkeeper Duke, who chipped away at the runs.
One pre-lunch cover driven four against Wood was particularly memorable, and he later reached his fifty off 110 balls with six fours, by which stage the visitors were 100-7 in the 48th over.
Patterson’s 27 sprung to life when he backed away against Wood and carved him over cover for six late on.
Unfortunately, however, both fell in successive overs to Matthew Parkinson and Bailey as the score slipped to 121-9 in the 53rd over. Duke was caught behind down leg pulling at Bailey.
Further useful runs were added by Coad and Olivier as they pushed the total up beyond 150, something which seemed a million miles away before lunch and would have not been possible had the hosts not put down a handful of catches.
However, the momentum they had gained was nullified after tea by a 71-run opening stand inside 19 overs between Alex Davies and Keaton Jennings.
Davies played the lead role with 52 off 57 balls before being caught behind down leg off Olivier. Jennings will begin day two on 22 alongside Luke Wells on 11.