Lyth leads Yorkshire to Roses record
Lancashire 278 and 144 for 2 (Khawaja 69*) trail Yorkshire 610 for 6 dec. (Lyth 251, Rashid 159*) by 188 runs
The third day's play in the Roses match was not designed to silence the Old Trafford malcontents. With Yorkshire registering the highest total in Roses history and Adam Lyth failing by one run to equal Yorkshire's highest score in Roses history, how could it?
The indefatigable Lyth also helped Adil Rashid set a new Yorkshire record for the sixth-wicket, the pair's 296-run stand beating the mark set by Maurice Leyland and Emmott Robinson at Swansea in 1926. And it seemed that when a statistic involving the legendary Robinson was eclipsed, a torch was passed from a distant generation to the current vintage.
Lyth and Rashid, of course, may hardly have heard of Leyland or Robinson, but the applause of the many visiting spectators at Old Trafford when the new record was established revealed a pleasing awareness of their county's history. Such knowledge was not generally shared: Lancashire's public address announcer marked the occasion by announcing that one car was blocking another.
For his part, Lyth very deliberately acknowledged the standing ovation he received from all parts of Old Trafford as he made his way back to the changing room after his innings of 251 that once again demanded England debate.
For all their internecine squabbles, there remains a degree of shared purpose between Yorkshire's players and supporters, a sense of "uz", if you wish, which is partly explored in very much more general terms in the two sonnets Them and [Uz] written by the Leeds poet Tony Harrison.
Perhaps it is that sense of identification with the players that Lancashire fans believe is endangered by the redevelopment of Old Trafford. More prosaically, of course, they just want the team to play better cricket and maybe they detect strong links between events on and off the field.
At least late resistance from Paul Horton, Usman Khawaja and Ashwell Prince gave Lancashire supporters some hope that they may rescue a precious draw on the final afternoon of a match which has been dominated by the White Rose.
But unease remained. When Old Trafford was redeveloped a couple of seasons ago it was decided that the players would no longer use the pavilion but would instead change in a plush new facility at what is now the Statham End of the ground.
There were sound reasons behind the decision but the fact that cricketers no longer need the building where members sit may almost be seen to symbolise the perceived divide between Lancashire's establishment and the folk who pay their subs to support the club in the hope of seeing the team do well.
Instead, the first session and a half saw Yorkshire extend their first innings lead to 332, the second-highest they have enjoyed against their keenest rivals. Lyth took his overnight 182 not out to a career-best 251, a mere single shy of Darren Lehmann's individual Roses record, when he drove Steven Parry to Simon Kerrigan at mid-on, thus giving Lancashire their solitary bowling success of the day.
The first half of this day was tough going for Lancashire's attack. Glen Chapple's bowlers were condemned to the roles of extras in a drama where the leading roles were taken by actors from another company. Thus, it was seen as almost a triumph when a maiden was sent down.
Nor were Lancastrian torments ended with the dismissal of Lyth. Rashid and Richard Pyrah added another 33 with Rashid making 159 not out, his second Championship century of the season. Wristy, quick on his feet and pleasingly incapable of letting the bowlers settle, he reinforced his reputation as a talent of which more may be expected.
But by 2.46pm Andrew Gale had seen enough and he called the batsmen in. Yorkshire's total was the highest by either side in a Roses match, another record on a day replete with them.
Needing to bat for near as damnit a day and a half to secure the draw that would buoy their hopes of avoiding relegation and deny Yorkshire the win that might take them yet closer to the title, Glen Chapple's batsmen began poorly when Luis Reece lost his off stump to a good ball from Ryan Sidebottom in the seventh over.
But Paul Horton and Usman Khawaja then produced some most resolute batting to add 81 in 21 overs before Rashid caught and bowled Horton when he had made 49, the ball catching the leading edge and the spinner diving to his right for the snare.
But there were no more breakthroughs for Yorkshire. Unlike other innings, this summer Lancashire's batting did not disintegrate like the delicate pastry in a perfectly baked Eccles cake. Ashwell Prince, feisty to the last, passed a thousand Championship runs in making 18 not out while Khawaja produced his most technically satisfying innings since his arrival in June and finished 69 not out.
The dismissed Lancashire openers agree that the pitch is still "an Old Trafford slab" and Rashid will be a key man on the last day. As will Adam Lyth with his offspin, perhaps. Well it's about time that Yorkshire pair made some contribution to this engrossing Roses match.