Yorkshire v Lancashire, Headingley, 1st day August 9, 2007

Yorkshire's titles dreams wilt

John Ward at Headingley

Lancashire 146 for 2 (Horton 82*) lead Yorkshire 144 (Chapple 4-35) by four runs

Glen Chapple: struck twice in his first over © Getty Images
Has there ever been a more sensational start to a Roses match? Was this the day that scuppered Yorkshire's Championship hopes for 2007? What is certain is that it was a day of disaster for the home side at Headingley, and they can only hope for salvation from either a return of the mid-season floods or some unexpectedly remarkable individual performances. Lancashire for their part were delighted to finish a day they dominated from beginning to end in a position of great strength, two runs ahead and with eight wickets in hand.

The weather was bright and clear, but the sun did not shine for Yorkshire. The debacle began with the final two deliveries of the opening over, bowled by Glen Chapple, after Yorkshire had batted on winning the toss. The first moved away slightly and Craig White edged it to the keeper; the next whipped back in sharply and Anthony McGrath, padding up, was adjudged lbw.

Worse was to follow. Joe Sayers took a single off Saj Mahmood's first ball; the second, a full toss, bowled Younis Khan. Yorkshire were 1 for 3 after eight deliveries. When Sayers (3) and Andrew Gale (15) departed, they were 22 for 5 and gasping for survival. The large gathering of spectators for this historic fixture were stunned.

Andrew Flintoff bowled in short bursts but still took three wickets © Getty Images
The pitch held some movement early on for the bowlers, but it was not excessive. However, Lancashire had their foot on the throat, but failed fully to press home their advantage. Yorkshire were able to effect some sort of recovery, to 144 all out. Their top scorers were Adil Rashid, with 34, and Tim Bresnan, 39, but both fell to poor strokes.

Chapple, magnificent early on, finished with 4 for 35. Andrew Flintoff bowled enthusiastically and quickly in short spells, taking three wickets, while Mahmood took two. Muttiah Muralitharan, whom Lancashire seem to be using as a stock bowler, took just one, proved economical (35 off 20 overs), but caused little unease.

Lancashire batted steadily for the rest of the day, with few frills or fireworks. Their opening batsman Paul Horton was their rock, playing the occasional impressive drive, but otherwise simply doing his job of staying in and accumulating; he finished the day unbeaten with 82. The only wickets were a brilliant run-out by Sayers to remove Mark Chilton for 24, and an lbw decision received very reluctantly by Brad Hodge for 29. Lancashire will sleep well tonight.