Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie is going to have one heck of a selection headache this weekend after a positive day for Yorkshire on and off the field today.
As Gary Ballance scored an unbeaten 117 to help the White Rose side close day one of their LV= County Championship match against Northamptonshire on 328-7, England batsman Joe Root continued his recovery from a broken thumb.
If Root comes through a second XI appearance against Lancashire at Northop Hall, starting tomorrow, he will almost certainly play in Sunday’s Championship match against Middlesex at Lord’s.
And that leaves Gillespie with a problem at the top of his batting order.
Assuming Root opens the batting, which Andrew Gale said he would do in pre-season, then Gillespie will have to leave out one of Alex Lees or Adam Lyth.
Lyth has scored runs in previous matches against Leeds/Bradford MCCU and Somerset, while Lees impressed for 90 yesterday.
He and Ballance shared 156 for the fourth wicket after Yorkshire had slipped to 57-3 just after lunch following Gale’s decision to bat first.
“It’s a great (selection) problem to have, absolutely,” said Gillespie, who also gave his backing to England’s expected move to appoint his good mate Paul Farbrace as their new assistant coach.
“Mind you, I’m probably going to have a few sleepless nights, there’s no doubt about that. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Root spent 15 to 20 minutes at lunch yesterday catching balls on the outfield with director of cricket Martyn Moxon, demonstrating no ill-effects following his lay-off since early March.
“Joe’s absolutely fine,” confirmed Gillespie. “He’s going to be playing in the second-team game against Lancashire.
“He’ll get the chance to have a knock and hopefully he’ll get through that so he can get back involved in the first team.”
Yorkshire were in a sticky situation today as they lost Lyth, Kane Williamson and Gale cheaply.
Former Bradford League seamer Mohammad Azharullah took two of those wickets with significant swing on offer.
Six of the seven wickets fell lbw but Ballance’s 20th first-class century was chanceless.
This was his fourth in his last four first-class matches for Yorkshire dating back to the end of last season. He hit 18 fours and a six in 188 balls.