Joe Root admitted that it had been “a proud moment and a real honour” to be chosen to captain Yorkshire when regular skipper Andrew Gale stood down from the side to play Middlesex at Lord’s today.
But speaking at the end of a first day in which he had seen his bowlers hit back to reduce the home side to 64-3 in reply to his own side’s 178, Root conceded that things had not “quite gone to plan”, although he remained hopeful his seam attack could make further inroads tomorrow morning.
Playing his first LV= County Championship match after recovering from a broken thumb, Root was dismissed lbw for a fifth-ball duck by his England colleague Steven Finn as the home attack made the most of the opportunity to bowl first in cloudy conditions.
“Unfortunately I’ve got no excuses for not scoring any runs today but I feel really fit and I’m very pleased to be back playing,” said Root, who is the youngest cricketer to skipper Yorkshire since Lord Hawke.
However, a Sunday which had begun with Root striding out to the middle in his Yorkshire blazer to toss up with his Ashes rival Chris Rogers soon went south pretty rapidly as the visitors lost Alex Lees in the third over of the morning.
Adam Lyth’s 34 and Kane Williamson’s 30 had only helped Yorkshire to a very modest 76-4 at lunch, and the Middlesex attack was in the ascendancy.
That trend continued in the afternoon session and the White Rose were wilting at 113-7 when Gary Ballance was caught in the gully for 20.
However, Ryan Sidebottom added 48 with Liam Plunkett, whose 55-ball 56 not out was his third Championship fifty for Yorkshire.
Plunkett drove and pulled ten fours in his muscular fashion by the time Yorkshire were eventually bowled out, and two early wickets for Jack Brooks revived Yorkshire’s hopes.
The home side had recovered somewhat when bad light and rain ended proceedings 19 overs early but the vociferous Yorkshire supporters at the home of cricket can be encouraged that this contest is very far from being done and dusted.