Yorkshire v Derbyshire, Headingley, 3rd day May 1, 2013

Root, Bairstow fine tune for Lions duty

Les Smith at Headlingley

Yorkshire 597 for 5 (Root 236, Bairstow 186) lead Derbyshire 475 by 122 runs

This time next week Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root will be preparing to play for England Lions against New Zealand at Leicester, with Root leading the team. This week they had a gentle limber up at Headingley, adding 231 runs for Yorkshire's third wicket over a little under four hours during which they utterly dominated Derbyshire's attack.

Derbyshire's bowling was diminished by the absence of opening bowler Tony Palladino, and the pitch has offered next to no help, but that should not detract from the magnificent display they provided for a Yorkshire crowd which had had to endure seeing their own bowlers taken apart by Chesney Hughes on the first two days.

Bairstow joined Root shortly before lunch after Phil Jaques had been run out attempting a single on a misfield by Wayne Madsen. Root was visibly livid about his part in the debacle, no doubt especially because he ran out the same team mate at Durham last week, but it didn't fluster him. In fact one of the most impressive aspects of his game is that he is always in control of it. He simply got his head down and carried on running Derbyshire ragged. Andrew Gale first got himself set, then got himself out, but that only brought Bairstow onto the stage and the fun was about to begin.

Root was nurtured by the same club in Sheffield that produced Michael Vaughan, and there is a lot of Vaughan about him. They have similar builds, and like Vaughan's, the weight of his runs is built on a sound, orthodox technique. Root's selection as captain of the Lions has inevitably led to speculation that he is being groomed by the selectors for future leadership. His total of runs in his last three innings, 467, will presumably secure him an extended run in the Test team, if that wasn't already a done deal. Whether he will emulate Vaughan and progress to Test captaincy remains to be seen. When asked the question at close of play he played a characteristically elegant dead bat.

His stroke play was excellent, on both sides of the wicket and on both front and back feet. It was nearly all genuine, orthodox stuff, though a scoop over his shoulder off the front foot for four against Tim Groenewald showed that he's capable of the outrageous as well. In the end Dan Redfern, who had only taken five first class wickets at an average of 56 before today, was too good for Root, bowling him round his legs with an off break.

Root was, as you might expect, delighted with his recent form. "It's nice to get some runs early on," he said. "Especially in April when it's not always that easy". Asked about what he learned from his experience with England in the winter, he cited the importance of being "greedy" when he's played himself in, and that "nice 60s and 70s don't win games". He's certainly been greedy over the last five days.

Bairstow's innings was more belligerent and he scored more quickly. He was particularly effective in the early stages through the leg side on the front foot, but once really established he played all around the field.

With Palladino injured, Jonathan Clare stepped in to share the new ball. At one stage in his second spell he had three fielders on the off side boundary barely 30 yards apart when bowling to Bairstow. Once Root had gone for a career-best 236 Bairstow was joined for the last hour of the day by left-hander Gary Ballance, and there was no letup in the pace.

During the last half hour there were routinely seven or eight on the boundary as the pair added 117 runs off 14 overs before Bairstow was caught off Wes Durston in the penultimate over for 186. At the close of play Ballance had scored 50 off 61 balls and Yorkshire had batted themselves into a lead of 122.

The brunt of the bowling fell on the spinners. Left-armer David Wainwright, enduring a difficult return to his old county, and offspinner Wes Durston got through 73 overs between them. While both had a thankless task on a flat pitch against two batsmen, and one in particular, in great form they rarely threatened, though in the circumstances Wainwright's economy rate of 3.5 deserves credit.

All the signs suggest that Yorkshire will look to pile on more runs in the first hour tomorrow then, as Joe Root put it, "have a good go at Derbyshire". The odds must still be on the groundsman and his feather bed.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • GeoffreysMother on May 2, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    CricketingStargazer - I tend to agree. I think he is obviously the man in possession for New Zealand whatever the Lions performance ( you don't pick on one match). His winter form was, like Onions, effected by being carried around twiddling his thumbs and I'm sure, though he wouldn't use it as an excuse, his mothers illness. This innings should have cleared his head wonderfully - but we will see. New Zealand's bowlers will provide a good test for the technique and application of a number of batsmen - including Ian Bell: the team's current elegant run a ball 10 and out man!

  • Charles on May 2, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    Good for Endland to see JB in the runs and I guess he and Taylor will have to fight it out .

  • Mark on May 2, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    @Geoffreysmother Which is why he has been the man to come in. However, it is unarguable that his form has not been great since his fine series v South Africa last summer. In those circumstances I'd rather have a batsman who grinds out a 50 than someone who gets a run-a-ball 10.

    The question is: has Jonny Bairstow done enough to justify selection and, on that one, the jury will be out until after the Lions match.

  • GeoffreysMother on May 2, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    The big advantage of Bairstow is, like Pieterson, that he is capable of accelerating the scoring in order to put a team into a winning position. This means, like Bell and Pieterson he will be out playing shots, as he was in both innings at Durham. Cook, Compton, Root, Trott and Taylor all bat at a slower pace. The question is whether he needs to do this more regularly at first division county level this season or whether he is now capable of doing this more consistently at international level. His main competitors for this type of batsman are Morgan and Patel and I think his technique is better than both. The other big advantage is that, like De Villiers and Boucher for the saffers, he can understudy Prior as keeper whist playing solely as a batsman.

  • Mark on May 2, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    @jmc It was not unnoticed that Hughes is England qualified. Unforunately, it was also not unnoticed that he has done little else in his First Class career. Is this just another Ted Alletson? It's up to him to show otherwise. There's a lovely video of the non-striker diving for cover as Hughes slightly mis-cues a shot more or less straight at his face. I do love these videos of the curious, the spectacular and the noteworthy in each round of matches... Bet Samit Patel isn't a fan though!

  • Mark on May 2, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    @JG2704 I am with you on this one. I would give the place to James Taylor on current form, although Jonny Bairstow has been the reserve all through the last year so, standard practice by the selectors would be to give him the first opportunity. However, I suspect that the LIons match is going to be a middle order shoot-out and that a good performance by Taylor and a failure by Bairtstow could just swing the balance.

    Jonny Bairstow has looked short on form and confidence all winter. An innings like this may just play him back into form. If it has, everyone should be happy because competition for places is far preferable to picking players out of form and the stronger the comeptition the better. Right now England have plenty of 20-somethings in form and Eoin Morgan is looking more and more like yesterday's story.

  • John on May 2, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    Joe Root is nailed on for the series anyway. Unfortunately I think Eng were looking for justification to include JB in the side after a poor start to the season and this is probably it. Nothing personal , but I think JT has made a more consistent start to the season and everyone here knows who I want at 6 and 7. I think JB is probably also nailed on as they look at the pace at which he bats. They don't have a batsman who scores at a pace in the side (unless you inc Prior as a batsman).

  • John on May 2, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    Here's an 'Ask Steven': has anyone made more runs by May 1st in an English season than Root? 467 would take a lot of beating.

  • sam on May 2, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    Well played both but the pitch is a road and Derbyshire's bowling is a horrible one.

  • John on May 2, 2013, 1:07 GMT

    @DERBYSHIRE33, you sound awfully defensive and, quite frankly, sour. TripleCenturion made one comment about the strength of Derbs bowling. That's hardly bashing. Can you list the teams in CC1 that have weaker bowling attacks than Derbs? Even if Yorks attack is poor, does that mean that Derbs isn't? You then proceed to belittle the achievements of two excellent young players but then proffer your own player for his achievement on the same pitch. Noone begrudged Hughes his deserved credit in previous reports on this match so why should you begrudge Root and Bairstow their due?

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