Yorkshire v Lancashire, Headingley, 2nd day May 30, 2010

Lancashire batsmen fail to capitalise on starts

Jon Culley at Headingley

Lancashire 272 for 5 v Yorkshire

Having put together solid partnerships for each of the first three wickets, Lancashire might consider they slightly underachieved on the second day of the 250th Roses match. When every batsman sets down the foundations for a good innings, at least one would be expected to build something substantial. In the event, none did, and while Ashwell Prince set himself impressively for a meaningful send-off in the last match of his Lancashire stint, the South African will feel he let an opportunity slip in being out for 78.

Nonetheless, Lancashire have the upper hand, although after a day lost to the weather, the way to a positive outcome may need some canny declarations. Yorkshire's bowlers worked hard but have not found the pitch particularly helpful. There is not too much pace and the ball has rarely deviated much.

It was hard going for spectators, too. Some gathered in the lower tier seats of the unfinished pavilion but nowhere offered shelter from a fierce and chilly wind. Shirts rippled and flags stretched for much of the day.

Lancashire won the toss and revealed a changed batting line-up, in which Luke Sutton dropped back to No. 7 after his three-match run as opener, an experiment that was skewed slightly by the hundred he made against Somerset at the start of the run.

The new team of Paul Horton and Stephen Moore looked better equipped and were going along solidly, taming the new ball, until Horton pushed at a delivery from Oliver Hannon-Dalby and was caught at third slip. Still, their partnership was the equal, at 53, of Lancashire's highest for the first wicket this season.

The arrival of Prince alongside Moore denied Yorkshire any quick follow-up to their breakthrough, the pair seeing Lancashire through to lunch satisfactorily at 99 for 1. Tino Best, wicketless, was looking visibly frustrated at times, while Ajmal Shahzad, back home after England duty in the Caribbean, probably needed some overs.

However, his pace is always liable to pose problems and did so for Moore, into his 40s and looking to kick on, when a ball that hit the pitch hard contrived to skid rather than bounce and slipped under his defences. Moore stared ruefully at the pitch as he turned for the pavilion but there were not many balls that behaved similarly.

Coming early in the second session, the wicket encouraged Yorkshire but again there was a long wait for more success. Mark Chilton had a hairy moment when he edged Shahzad but the ball somehow went between the first and second slips with neither able to react.

Once he had settled, Chilton began to find gaps in the field regularly but like Moore he found his progress ended just as he must have felt well set.

This time Rashid was rewarded for persistence, three overs before tea. The legspinner bowled with discipline but was into his fifth over before he was able to make something happen, getting some bounce and enough turn to induce an edge from Mark Chilton, taken one-handed by Jacques Rudolph at slip to end a 27-over partnership of 81.

At the other end, however, nothing much had troubled Prince, with a second century for Lancashire seemingly there for the taking. But he, too, failed to deliver the pay-off, going back to a ball from Steve Patterson that looked at first to be one he could despatch towards the off-side boundary but which maybe bounced more than he expected, the upshot being that he somehow jabbed the ball straight to short extra cover.

Croft was then caught at mid off in what was undoubtedly the poorest piece of cricket of the day as Rashid began a new spell with a chest-high full toss and the allrounder miscued an attempted heave to midwicket.

Lancashire are well placed and if Tom Smith, unbeaten on 46, can buck the trend and make his good start count they will be in better shape still.