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Ivo Tennant at Taunton
May 29, 2013
Yorkshire 341 for 5 (Lyth 105, Gale 75) v Somerset
Adam Lyth relishes his visits to Taunton. In 2010, that wonderful summer when he became the first batsman in the country to reach 1,000 runs, he made 142 and 93 off a stellar Somerset attack. Now, as if to prove he can perform just as well despite there being a more even balance between bat and ball these days, he struck his first century of the season. In quite acceptable time, too.
Lyth is overshadowed these days by Yorkshiremen who are making runs for England, but we should not forget him. Neither should the England selectors. And nor, given what he has achieved on this ground, will Somerset. Other than when he was dropped at third slip by Dean Elgar off Steve Kirby on 37, there was scarcely a mis-timed shot until he pulled Gemaal Hussain to mid-on.
By then, Lyth, one of no fewer than five left handers in Yorkshire's upper order, had made 105 off 158 balls with 15 fours. The square might have been tampered with in the wake of Phil Frost's departure as head groundsman, but there are still runs aplenty for any batsman who can survive the first hour of the match. As Joe Sayers, who edged to second slip in Kirby's first over, the ball swinging away from him, failed to do.
Yorkshire had decided to bat on the second day following a washout on Tuesday. Hussain was included for the first time this season as a result of Alfonso Thomas pulling a hamstring last weekend, Jamie Overton having "his workload managed" - in other words he was rested - and brother Craig suffering from a serious back injury which appears set to rule him out for the season. Hussain was to take two of the five wickets to fall.
He had Phil Jaques held by Alex Barrow in front of first slip but on occasion bowled too short at Lyth, who like other short left handers - he is five foot eight inches - cut and pulled prolifically.
After he was out, Andrew Gale and Gary Ballance added 80. The former, who has not made a century for two years, played on to Peter Trego having reached 75 off 188 balls with eight fours, and the latter was caught behind cutting at a widish ball from George Dockrell, for 48. It was still Yorkshire's day, one that most emphatically belonged to Lyth.
"I like batting at Taunton," Lyth said. "Here and at Scarborough, where the pitches are also firm tracks, are my two favourite grounds. You get value for your shots - Taunton is a small ground and the ball does not seam around, unlike at Headingley. But Somerset are a very good side and they won't be bottom of the championship table come the end of the season."
Somerset, quite apart from being under-strength in terms of their bowling, have no Jos Buttler, Craig Kieswetter - or Nick Compton, whom they would have liked to have included, given this fixture was starting a day late owing to rain.
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