Yorkshire in charge after Lyth hundred
Yorkshire 379 for 8 v Lancashire
Neville Cardus would recall Roses matches played in such curmudgeonly attitude that the cross-Pennine rivals would deliberately score slowly just to frustrate their opponents, the Lancashire captain, Harry Makepeace, adopting a first-day mantra of "no fours before lunch" if he won the toss and the wicket was good.
This historical mean-spiritedness was clearly lost on stand-in captain, Jacques Rudolph, as Yorkshire won the toss in Manchester. He and Adam Lyth, his opening partner, gathered boundaries with almost carefree abandon as Yorkshire responded to the opportunity to bat first on a dry, flat wicket to reach 126 without loss in the opening session.
Lyth, the left-hander, is enjoying a prolific season at the top of the order, in contrast to last summer, when he was required to step aside to make way for Michael Vaughan and seemed unsure of his future. Here he reached 100 off 122 balls in a continuation of a marvellous run of scores interrupted only by a first-ball duck when these teams met at Headingley a month ago.
Prior to that, he had scored 84, 85, 47, 142, 93, 133 and 98 off the reel and seemed to have a real chance, even at long-odds, of reaching 1,000 runs before the end of May. That duck and weather fit for ducks denied him the opportunity with the last day washed out completely, so perhaps there was an element of ridding himself of that disappointment in the exuberant celebration that followed as he moved from 99 to 100 with a legside single after his 17th boundary had taken him to 99. And, for a committed Yorkshire cricketer, there is nothing more satisfying than a century against the old enemy. This was Lyth's first.
Lyth, who has represented his country only at Under-19 level, must be close to a Lions call-up, at least. Disappointingly, he could not add to his hundred, though, glancing a ball from Tom Smith into wicketkeeper Luke Sutton's gloves.
The Whitby-born player still may be the first in the country to reach 1,000 first-class runs for the season, although Mark Ramprakash - out for 99 at Chesterfield - is running him close. The former England batsman has 959 to Lyth's 953.
Yorkshire lost their first wicket at 166 but continued to build, their workrate certainly more impressive than the team undertaking to dismantle the temporary stand from Sunday's one-day international, the presence of which caused chaos before the start as cars poured into the ground in search of parking spaces that did not exist.
Rudolph, willing at first to play second fiddle to Lyth with 31 runs to his partner's 84 at lunch, became more expansive in time and reached 83 before following a lifting ball from Daren Powell to be second out, caught at second slip.
Anthony McGrath, looking robustly prosperous without the cares of captaincy, had 61 to his name before playing on to the same bowler. Jonathan Bairstow, promoted to four in the batting with regular skipper Andrew Gale away with the England Lions, looked set to be the fourth half-centurion before a leading edge off Tom Smith flew to extra cover, where Simon Katich took a fine, diving catch.
Gerard Brophy clinched the fourth Yorkshire batting point before a Glen Chapple inswinger trapped him in front. That wicket prompted a late comeback by Lancashire as Chapple found good movement in the air, his four wickets in the space of 26 balls including a breathtaking catch at point by Steven Croft off a sliced drive by Adil Rashid.
Chapple and Smith were the pick of the Lancashire bowlers, left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan toiling long for scant reward. They missed Sajid Mahmood, another chosen for a triangular one-day tournament of questionable value involving England Lions, India A and West Indies A.
Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire's director of cricket and a man not inclined towards reckless forecasting, believes Yorkshire are serious contenders for the title and on this evidence it appears to be a reasonable evaluation.