Yorkshire 178 for 6 (Lyth 86*) v Lancashire
This may well be one of those Roses matches from which both sets of supporters must take whatever gobbets of comfort as they can. The loss of all but 13 balls on the first day and then 35 overs on the second, combined with a wretched forecast for Tuesday, have made it very probable that partial victories will be the only variety available.
Adam Lyth will not be complaining too loudly. Bowled by the admirable George Balderson when on 45, the Yorkshire opener returned to the pavilion on this Sunday evening just 14 runs short of his fourth century in first-class Roses matches. The majority of home supporters who are missing their first game against Lancashire since the Rhodesian crisis would argue there is no other kind of Roses match and Lyth might well agree with them. The prospect of playing the old enemy in a red-ball game brings out the best in him.
Danny Lamb and George Burrows will not be skriking too loudly either. As the rain gusted across Headingley this afternoon both Lancastrian bowlers could reflect that their careers had taken a step forward, even if they had both had to take some punishment before earning their rewards.
Burrows' progress was the most momentous. Resuming his maiden spell in first-class cricket this morning the 22-year-old Wiganer discovered that Lyth has a short way with leg-stump half-volleys and is similarly intolerant of leg-stump long hops. Less than an hour into the day's play Burrows had bowled five overs for 35 runs and he was wisely withdrawn from the attack. Some thought he might have a few hours' fielding ahead of him but Dane Vilas, Lancashire's captain, is too wise a skipper to let a freshman stew in his own disappointment.
Given an opportunity to recall Burrows by the fall of three wickets in seven overs, Vilas was rewarded for his boldness by the wicket of Harry Brook, who slapped a very short ball outside the off stump to Josh Bohannon at point. Brook stood aghast for a moment; it was the short of shot that would have earned him a severe wigging from Martin Speight, his old coach at Sedbergh.
Burrows' happiness was properly trumped by his embarrassment but at least he had a first-class wicket in his tucker bag and his second set of five overs cost only 12 runs. Out of such tiny victories are careers fashioned. James Anderson could tell Burrows that. He could also point out the more obvious truth that Burrows probably would not have had that second spell had not Yorkshire wasted the fine start that saw them bring up their fifty in exactly ten overs.
The ever-reliable Tom Bailey made the first breakthrough when he had Tom Kohler-Cadmore caught by Keaton Jennings at first slip for 18, but it was Lamb who changed the balance of the session. Bowling in only his seventh first-class game, Lamb produced a fine outswinger to have Will Fraine caught by Davies for 5 and then had Tom Loten lbw second ball with a delivery that did little more than compel a shot from Loten, who was playing only his second first-class innings.
Things could have been very different, and probably even better, for Lancashire had Bailey's very good appeal against Lyth in the first over of the morning found favour with James Middlebrook. And while Lancashire will have been happy with taking four wickets in what was the first full session of this game, their luncheon would have been even sweeter had Jennings caught what appeared a straightforward slip catch off Bailey when Jonny Tattersall nicked an attempted cut.
The afternoon session was wrecked by the weather and many thought they had seen their last cricket of the day. But the Headingley drainage and the efforts of the groundstaff combined to give us an evening in which Lyth progressed with few alarms towards another landmark. His hooked six off Lamb was his second of the day - Burrows had been the first sufferer - and the opener also hit a dozen fours in what has so far been a 267-minute innings made memorable by the batsman's calm ability to resume his innings as well as his ever cultured strokeplay.
Lancashire also had their successes towards evensong. Having dropped Tattersall, Jennings had the Yorkshire wicketkeeper caught at slip by Steven Croft for 25 and Burrows also enjoyed a late triumph when he bowled Jordan Thompson off the inside edge four overs before the close. The freshman had made his point, but then points, whether bonus or otherwise, are surely what this Roses match will be all about.
Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications