Yorkshire’s batsmen, led by centurion Adam Lyth, achieved a rare feat against reigning champions Durham as they seized control of their LV= County Championship match at Emirates Durham today.
They imposed themselves on a usually potent attack in the first innings of a match on this ground as they closed on 299-3 from 96 overs.
In their last 16 Championship matches at home, dating back to May 2012, Durham have only conceded four batting bonus points, with two of them coming yesterday. Warwickshire compiled 209 here last year and Sussex 211 the season before. But, otherwise, no team has passed 200.
With that in mind and with conditions seemingly suited for bowlers this morning, it was a surprise when Andrew Gale opted to bat first upon winning the toss.
But his decision was vindicated by Lyth’s 104 off 200 balls and a 209-ball 97 from New Zealander Kane Williamson.
The pair shared 179 inside 55 overs for the second wicket to take the visitors from 29-1 in the 11th over to 208-1 in the 65th.
Durham’s spearhead Graham Onions was off colour, even though his figures of 0-38 from 20 overs look reasonable.
The home attack did not make Yorkshire’s batsmen play anywhere near enough, while their fielders let slip four catches – one of those was off a Jamie Harrison no-ball when Lyth was on 13.
Lyth was also dropped on 88 when an edge off Mark Wood was parried by Scott Borthwick at second slip before Paul Collingwood failed to grasp the rebound.
Williamson offered a tough chance to wicketkeeper Phil Mustard on 92 off Wood before Gale was dropped by Kumar Sangakkara at a wide third slip off Onions with the second new ball.
The three wickets to fall were those of Alex Lees, Lyth and Williamson.
Lees was caught behind off left-armer Harrison, Lyth caught at second slip off the same bowler and Williamson bowled by Chris Rushworth three balls after Durham had taken the second new ball.
Williamson equalled his Yorkshire best of 97 – the second time he has fallen on that score against Durham.