YORKSHIRE’S batsmen will need to shine if they are to avoid a fourth successive defeat at Lord’s in the Specsavers County Championship following a dominant first day for Middlesex.

On a flat pitch in the North London heat, Sam Robson and Paul Stirling both hit centuries to put the winless defending champions on top at 337-4 from 96 overs.

Ex-England Test opener Robson hit 152 not out off 276 balls, while current Ireland international Stirling hit 111 off 136, his first Championship century.

After winning at Taunton last week, coach Andrew Gale highlighted Yorkshire’s top order batting as an area for improvement.

And there is no reason why it should not happen here given conditions, on the early evidence anyway, are so much in favour of the batsmen.

There is a green tinge to the pitch, but apart from a bit of new ball swing, Yorkshire’s bowlers had little to work with throughout the day.

They certainly weren’t at their best during the afternoon, bowling too many four-balls and failing to keep the scoring rate down when Robson and bullish Stirling batted unbroken and scored 145 in 37 overs.

Their third-wicket partnership totalled 187 in 45 from just before lunch to shortly after tea.

Yorkshire, who have handed a debut to 18-year-old former Burley-in-Wharfedale batsman Harry Brook, would have been reasonably happy at lunch with the score at 75-2.

Steve Patterson and Jack Brooks struck to get rid of Nick Compton and Stevie Eskinazi late in the session.

Patterson had Compton (22) caught behind pushing forwards to leave the score at 64-1 in the 21st before Brooks had Eskinazi chopping on for four in the 26th.

Brooks will be frustrated at spilling a sharp low return catch with Robson on 31 before lunch.

Robson was on 36 when Stirling joined him.

But the latter overtook his partner shortly before falling in the early stages of the evening, trapped lbw pulling at an Adil Rashid delivery that kept low. That left the score at 262-3 after 71 overs.

Stirling hit three fours off Patterson in the 47th, midway through the afternoon, to reach 50 and later lofted Adam Lyth’s off-spin over long-on for six towards the Pavilion.

Robson, replaced by Lyth in England’s Test team in 2015, was happy to accumulate, although offered a half chance to diving Rashid at cover off Brooks on 144.

Yorkshire improved after tea. Rashid got Stirling and Ryan Sidebottom, bowling with the new ball, bowled Franklin to leave the score at 302-4 in the 87th.

The inclusion of Brook in Yorkshire’s team was one of four changes from last week’s three-run win over Somerset.

Brook, Brooks, Ben Coad and Rashid have all come in for Jack Leaning, Karl Carver, Matthew Waite and Azeem Rafiq.

Brook could even bat at three having posted 161 in last week’s second XI Championship draw against Lancashire at Scarborough as an opener.

Less than a fortnight ago, he also hit 112 in the one-day second XI Trophy final win over Middlesex at Headingley.

A repeat of that over the next couple of days would go down very well as the visitors bid to avoid a repeat of their defeats here in each of the last three seasons.