Yorkshire 273 (Lyth 100, Clark 3-44, Mahmood 3-62) and 61 for 0 beat Lancashire 123 (Coad 6-25, Sidebottom 3-30) and 209 (Chanderpaul 47, Sidebottom 3-38, Bresnan 3-50 ) by 10 wickets
"It is no disgrace to be defeated by a grand side like the present Yorkshire XI." Perhaps it wasn't but let us assume that Steven Croft does not spend his free evenings reading Neville Cardus. Were he do so, though, the Lancashire skipper might find a small measure of balm in the longer perspective offered by the great man's consideration of Yorkshire's eight-wicket victory at Bradford in August 1923.
On the other hand, the keenest hurt is the one just suffered and Croft is an illusionless fellow who surely knew as he walked off the Headingley outfield on Sunday afternoon that his team had been absolutely outplayed in the most recent Roses match. This was never truer than on a glorious third morning when the black-armbanded Yorkshire bowlers took their opponents' last six wickets for the addition of 68 runs, all the dismissed batsmen falling to catches by either the wicketkeeper or slips. Then the home openers, Alex Lees and Adam Lyth, sauntered to victory, knocking off the 60 runs needed to win in just over an hour while Lancashire bowled the spinners in an attempt to improve their over rate.
Such divergent objectives - one side looking to capture 16 points while the other scrabbled to save a couple - illustrated the eventual gulf that had developed between the teams over these three days. Yorkshire's victory cannot solely be explained by Lancashire's decision to bat first on a cloudy first morning, bizarre as that seemed. This was a pitch which offered abundant opportunity to seam bowlers; 22 of the 30 wickets fell to catches in the cordon. Yet it was also a wicket on which Adam Lyth could score one of the best hundreds of his career.
Of course one or two Lancashire supporters may ponder what the result might have been had Lyth been tested by Kyle Jarvis or James Anderson, both of whom were injured; they might also wonder what the outcome might have been had Liam Livingstone not been sampling life with the Lions. To which White Rose supporters will list the number of their own players currently involved with the national side and it will become plain that Yorkshire coped with their absences far better than Lancashire did with theirs.
No other batsman played an innings even half as good as Lyth's century; Ben Coad, who took eight wickets, and Ryan Sidebottom, who finished with six, were clearly the bowlers of the game. Lancashire's middle-order were often as powerless to cope with them on the third morning as they had been on the first afternoon when conditions were tougher. That was exemplified when Sidebottom moved one away from Dane Vilas in the third over of the day, leaving Lyth at second slip to pouch the resultant nick; and it was shown again three overs later when Coad dismissed Chanderpaul for the second time in the match by bowling around the wicket and catching the faint edge of a bat which is so often safely withdrawn. Coad in his glorious innocence probably does not realise that some fine bowlers have spent their careers attempting to dismiss Chanderpaul twice.
"Lancashire's poor batting in the match has of course caused sorrow all over the county, but nobody has felt it more acutely than the players themselves," observed Cardus 94 years ago and his general insight remains valid in these very different times. A morning that had begun with visiting supporters hoping that Chanderpaul, Vilas and Ryan McLaren would lay deep foundations for prolonged resistance ended with Tim Bresnan taking three wickets in 16 balls, a haul which included the scalp of Jordan Clark for a breezy 37.
"From start to finish we dominated the game," said the Yorkshire coach, Andrew Gale. "I said in the dressing room that we strive for perfection and as a bowling unit I thought we were top drawer. If I could show the Academy players a video of how to bat at Headingley Adam Lyth's innings would be the one I would choose. I've never seen him work harder for a hundred."
Lyth and Lees' amble to victory was interrupted by lunch but the game ended nearly eight overs after the resumption. Ballance and his players were applauded into the pavilion by the Kirkstall Lane spectators, some of whom may rarely have known such perfect contentment. Yorkshire now travel to Taunton sitting second in the table. Lancashire, meanwhile, are next in action on Friday when they play Middlesex at Southport, a venue which invariably brings comfort to cricket's most cruelly-used souls.