Yorkshire v Somerset, Headingley, 1st day June 11, 2009

Yorkshire batsmen waste chances

John Ward at Headingley

Yorkshire 269 for 8 (Sayers 60, Bresnan 48) v Somerset

Considering that they won the toss and faced a rather weak Somerset bowling attack, Yorkshire will feel disappointed when they consider the course of the first day's play. All their recognised batsmen reached double figures, yet most threw their wickets away unnecessarily.

Considerable overnight rain had made a punctual start seem unlikely, but the morning sun and the Headingley drainage system did their job. Michael Vaughan was missing from the Yorkshire team with a sore knee, as Jonathan Bairstow, son of former Yorkshire captain and keeper David, made his first-class debut.

Jacques Rudolph made a brisk start, cutting the first ball of the match for three, but was bogged down. He remained on 10 for an age before producing a superb cover-driven boundary off Charl Willoughby, but with his score still at 14 he was surprised by a faster ball from the erratic Alfonso Thomas and lost his leg stump. There was some movement in the pitch and the ball did not always come on to the bat, but the rather insipid Somerset bowling did not take real advantage of it.

Sayers, after his recent performances, was raising questions as to whether he is Yorkshire's slowest-ever opening batsman; he is not, after records were produced showing that he still trials Herbert Sutcliffe and Geoff Boycott. But he is building a reputation, and astounded the local supporters by pulling the pace bowler David Stiff for a huge six over the long boundary at midwicket. He kept the score moving, although Anthony McGrath tended to catch the eye more, especially when he drove two successive short balls from Peter Trego to the cover boundary. But he fell for 16, skying an attempted hook off Stiff which was taken by the keeper.

After lunch, Sayers completed a sound half-century, off 81 balls, but then seemed to lose his rhythm, eventually being caught at first slip off a good ball from Willoughby. He was replaced by the debutant Bairstow, who made a cautious start but outscored Andrew Gale in their useful partnership of 55. Yorkshire were beginning to look good until just before tea.

First Gale (35) was given out lbw to a good ball from Trego, although there was a hint of inside edge, and in the next over Bairstow (28) swung across a full toss from the erratic legspinner Michael Munday and was bowled. Suddenly, Yorkshire's stocks had slumped as they were reduced to 166 for 5.

Tim Bresnan took full toll of Munday, swinging him wide of long-on for six and repeating the stroke in his next over. After tea, together with Gerard Brophy, he steadied the ship with some good batting, adding 82 runs until Thomas came on with the second new ball. Brophy slashed his first ball, a long hop, to the cover boundary, but fell while attempting a pull off the next delivery, another short one, only to hole out to the bowler.

Minutes from the close, Bresnan perished to a catch in the deep as he swept at Munday, two short of what would have been a most creditable 50. Somerset's best bowler during the day was Willoughby, despite a rather unimpressive opening spell: his 22 overs brought him two wickets for just 28 runs.