Sport | Yorkshire flourish in Roses clash

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Yorkshire registered a comprehensive victory over their arch-rivals Lancashire at the Roses Match in Old Trafford and consolidated their lead at the top of LV County Championship Division One as they are firmly in the race for their first four day title since 2001.

The thumping victory by an innings and 18 runs was the first time the Yorkshiremen have triumphed over Lancashire at Old Trafford since 2002. With the White Roses’ closest title rivals Nottinghamshire losing at Durham , Yorkshire now have a 26 point advantage heading into the final two matches of the season.

Bradford-born Adil Rashid was the star of the closing days taking 5-117 with the ball as his spin proved too hot to handle for the Red Roses’ batting line-up.

The tone of the match was set from Day One as relegation-threatened Lancashire elected to bat; the hosts made a terrible start, as veteran Yorkshire seamer Ryan Sidebottom trapped Horton LBW with his second delivery of the match. Usman Khawaja then edged the next behind the stumps into the grateful hands of Jonny Bairstow, leaving Lancashire at a worrying 0-2 in the first over.

However, the cool heads of Luis Reece and South African Ashwell Prince staved off the early crisis until Prince surrendered his wicket unnecessarily as he attempted a reverse sweep on a delivery from the on-form spinner Rashid. Reece carried on his direction of the recovery and reached a deserved fifty from 90 balls just before lunch on Day 1. Yorkshire then missed the chance to oust Steven Croft before the interval as he was dropped at slip off Rich Pyrah.

Left-armer Sidebottom finally took the wicket of Reece shortly after play resumed by LBW and Croft also met the same fate soon after for 38 as James Brooks used his seam to devastating effect.

20-year old Jack leaning took a superb diving catch to dismiss Alex Davies for 35 off the bowling of Pyrah and Lancashire’s last four went for a measly 38 runs. However,Tom Smith batted positively for Lancashire hitting a top score of 57 before falling to Brooks(3-64). Lancashire posted a disappointing total of 278 on the first day and needed to pin a buoyant Yorkshire down with the ball in Day 2.

That plan soon proved elusive as Yorkshire were rampant with the bat, especially Whitby-born opening batsmen Adam Lyth, who surely places himself at the forefront of England selectors minds, as he posted a huge  251 off 446 balls to put his side firmly in the driving seat.

Yorkshire began Day 2 on 61-1 and Lyth batted throughout the day sharing productive partnerships with all his partners including Alex Lees, Kiwi Kane Williamson and Jonny Bairstow. The Lancashire bowlers were subjected to a long day of toil, as Lyth completed a first-wicket stand of 72 within 26 overs with Lees and shared 77 inside 30 for the second with Kane Williamson. He also shared 103 inside 19 with Bairstow for the fourth wicket for most of the afternoon.

Lyth battled on to earn his ton from 231 balls just before tea, which was his fifth Championship hundred of the season. Bairstow, however, fell just before the interval, bowled by Steven Croft‘s off-spin, leaving the score at 266-4. Kerrigan dismissed Jack Leaning LBW shortly after tea with the score at 281; however that only galvanised an on-fire Lyth to push on for his 150 with a huge six off the bowling of Bailey.

Adil Rashid joined Lyth at the wicket and showed his aggressive intent early on, as they shared an unbroken 115 to see the day out. Day 3 proved to be record-breaking for the pair. Lyth and Rashid engineered a record sixth-wicket stand to put Yorkshire out of Lancastrian sights. Lyth showed great grit and determination in his marathon innings which just fell short of 11 hours at the crease.

Rashid also batted admirably and reached an unbeaten 159.  Skipper Gale declared after Lyth, who was on 251 one short of the 252 individual score record in Roses cricket set by Darren Lehmann, chipped the ball up to spinner Stephen Parry. Posting a colossal 610-6 from 140 overs , Lancashire were left with a steep mountain to climb.

The conditions were in Lancashire’s favour as they started their second innings. Ryan Sidebottom once again proved to be a threat, as he dismissed opener Reece with 17 on the board early on. Horton and Khawaja steadied the ship with a shared 81 in the next 20 overs, Khawaja coming out aggressively and lofted Rashid over his head for six in the last ball before tea. Rashid took his revenge as he dismissed his partner Horton by holding onto a delivery chipped back up to him.

Lancashire resumed on the final day with Prince and Khawaja batting valiantly as the Red Rose reached 241-4 at lunch, with Aussie Khawaja gaining his first hundred for the side. Lancashire lost Prince and Croft in the morning to the dangerous Rashid. The rampant Rashid and Jack Brooks tore through the Lancashire middle and lower order, as they smashed Lancastrian hopes of salvaging a draw from the wreckage. They lost 5 for a derisory 27 as centurion Khawaja was superbly stumped by Bairstow off Rashid and Brooks took skipper Chapple and Rashid took Kerrigan and left Lancashire on a limp 270-9  and to clinch his first five-wicket haul since last June at Middlesex.

The hero with the bat Lyth turned his arm over and wrapped up the win dismissing Parry in the 104th over to clinch a hugely satisfying Roses victory.

Yorkshire are truly in the driving seat in achieving long-awaited County honours, facing a title showdown against second-placed Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge next week. If Nottinghamshire are the victors then the thrilling title race will continue on to the last match in Leeds against Somerset on September 23.

LANCASHIRE 278 and 314           YORKSHIRE 610-6


Rhys Stevens

Picture: Independent

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