Yorkshire’s cricketers continued to display their Championship title ambitions by dominating the second day of their LV= Division One match against Middlesex at Lord’s.
Stand-in skipper Joe Root and his players go into tomorrow morning’s play on 213-4 in their second innings, giving them a very healthy lead of 268 with six wickets intact after three sessions that could scarcely have gone much better for the visitors.
Tight, incisive bowling saw Root’s seamers take seven wickets for 59 runs in the morning session to hand their colleagues a 55-run first-innings lead.
Rarely willing to surrender such advantage, Adam Lyth and Alex Lees added 82 for the first wicket before Lees was bowled for 33 playing no shot at an Ollie Rayner off-spinner which didn’t turn.
Three overs later Lyth, having stroked a cultured 54, edged Steven Finn to Rayner at second slip. However, the opener’s dismissal only slowed Yorkshire’s progress. It did not halt it.
In the evening session, with Lord’s blessed by the warmest sunshine of the match, Root and Kane Williamson added 97 for the third wicket and the presence of Gary Ballance at the wicket tomorrow morning will do nothing to bolster the battered confidence of the Middlesex side.
Root’s strokeplay became increasingly more fluent yesterday and it was a surprise when he was lbw to his England colleague Steven Finn for 63. Williamson had earlier been snaffled in the gully by Sam Robson off Finn for 37.
Yet Root and his colleagues also paid tribute to the efforts of their seam attack, who had prised the advantage from Middlesex in the first session of play.
No one deserved more praise than Ryan Sidebottom, whose spell of 9-5-11-3 removed Neil Dexter, Joe Denly and Eoin Morgan.
The latter went for 33 to a quite superb two-handed second-slip catch by a leaping Lyth.
That left Middlesex on 83-6 and Liam Plunkett then removed both John Simpson and Tim Murtagh, dismissals which sandwiched the departure of Rayner who was bowled by Jack Brooks.
The former Northamptonshire quick bowler finished with 3-47, while Sidebottom’s figures of 4-34 did him no less than justice.