Root and Bairstow marvel with worthy record-breaker
Yorkshire 486 for 5 (Bairstow 198, Root 190*) lead Surrey 330 by 156 runs
Ten days from now, a Yorkshire crowd can again expect to witness Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow batting together, this time for England in the first Investec Test against Sri Lanka. But even if consumed by unknown levels of optimism, they will not dare to dream they will witness the delights witnessed today at Headingley. This was the grandest of days.
On the safe assumption that a Yorkshire heaven would have cricket in it somewhere, washed down by curd tarts and Taylor's Landlord, the entertainment provided by Root and Bairstow was something akin to divine. Even the Yorkshire chaplain was on hand to bless it. It is to be hoped that he popped into the away dressing room because for much of this bountiful batting day Surrey's bowlers could barely rustle up a prayer between them.
Two England batsmen at their height of their game - one who should already be recognised as a world star worthy of this or any other age, one still mostly treasured in his native Yorkshire but surely bursting with potential for the summer ahead - smashed the record stand for Yorkshire on this famous old ground, and the Yorkshire record against Surrey for good measure. But this was not just two England batsmen, but two Yorkshire batsmen who have taken guard together since childhood and who steal runs and strike boundaries and gain impetus from each other in a fashion that says much about the true essence of partnership.
Their stand of 372 in 68 overs rushed along at around five-and-a-half runs an over. They made the Headingley surface look benign (Surrey's second innings will be the truth of that) and played with glorious enterprise, not just making runs but responding to their supremacy by stretching their horizons.
When the stand ended - Bairstow cutting James Burke to Kumar Sangakkara at slip with what appeared to be considered precision - even the most self-conscious Yorkshire salts joined the happiest of ovations. The fact it was against Surrey, second in rivalry only to Lancashire, made it sweeter.
Bairstow missed his double century by two runs and, after searching for an acceptable expletive, pronounced himself "cheesed off". Root closed the day 10 runs short and, after his usual regime of morning back exercises, will be eager to avoid cheese. There were 471 runs in the day, and might easily have been 500 if the second new ball had not demanded a little decorum. Yorkshire lead by 156.
Root and Bairstow possess such an appealing contrast that their complementary ingredients might have been brought together by a head chef. Even when Root pushes himself to the limit, there is a sense of clinical excellence, such as the back-foot cover drive against Ravi Rampaul which took him to 150 in which his left elbow seemed to cleave the air. Alongside him, Bairstow pulverised the bad balls, immense when he hit on the up through extra cover, commanding on the pull.
In many ways this was a day that underlined the divide between England ambition and England status. Adam Lyth, Alex Lees and Gary Ballance all have designs on an international place but all fell within 11 overs as Yorkshire subsided to 45 for 3. Surrey must have imagined their 330 might be defendable after all. But from the moment that Root and Bairstow joined forces, batsmanship had an international presence. Bairstow has spent much of the past year on such rallying calls. If Yorkshire go 45 for 3 against next week, the red fire engine will be otherwise occupied.
Rampaul had Lyth lbw with one that swung a shade and cramped Ballance with a similar delivery to cause him to poke onto his stumps: it is impossible to imagine that England will pick Ballance while his tortuous form persists. Lees, who had shown up well in the televised match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, got out weakly against Tom Curran.
Rampaul and Curran stuck at it. Rampaul has been a good signing, a bowler of nous and more eager than many imagined. Curran, learning how to handle the step up in class, has a stooping start to his run which, as the stand swelled, suggested he was auditioning for a role in the annual Gawthorpe World Coal Carrying Championships: he will take to first division life The back-up seamers, though, were dispelled with ease and the spin of the captain Gareth Batty, when it appeared, held no threat.
Reports from London that Matt Dunn has real pace will not be taken seriously this far north on this evidenc. Burke looked particularly vulnerable, but somehow figured in Root and Bairstow's most anxious moments. Before he claimed Bairstow's wicket, he almost dismissed Root, on 20, at second slip - a glimmer of a chance at best as Jason Roy flung himself to his right, and had Bairstow dropped at mid-on at 134, a full toss which Arun Harinath was unable to turn into a bonus wicket.
For all those with a sense of history the celebration of records comes with a vague sadness about those expunged. The greatest records should fall in memorable circumstances. This was a stand worthy of displacing the best. It has become a particularly beautiful Yorkshire spring, so late that all the colours are together at once, and even Headingley, with its traditions of burnt treacle, was at its most lightsome as the boundaries rained down.
You had to go back to 1899 at The Oval for Yorkshire's previous best stand against Surrey: 340 by Ted Wainwright and George Hirst. Wainwright holds the record for the lowest bowling average in Championship history - 97 at 10.17 apiece in 1894, a wet summer. His batting potential is less revered. Asked for the secret of batting, he once remarked: "Play back - and get thi legs reight." Well he did according to Cardus, who was not afraid of touching up a quote.
Yorkshire's record stand at Headingley, though, before Root and Bairstow gatecrashed it, was in the hands of Darren Lehmann and Michael Lumb. Lehmann's 339 fell just short of Hirst's individual record that day and, supping a pint when it was all over, suggested that as an Australian, second place felt about right. Great moments - and Root and Bairstow have added another one to the annals.
David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps