ANDREW Gale hailed a “fantastic” start to Yorkshire’s Vitality Blast campaign as they hammered Durham at Emerald Headingley on Thursday evening.

The Vikings defended a target of 201 and won by 44 runs, with a host of impressive individual contributions.

In Yorkshire’s 200-3, Adam Lyth hit 92 not out, Jonny Tattersall 53 not out and Harry Brook (44). With the ball, Jack Brooks led the way with 3-21 from four overs as the Jets finished on 156-4. It was Brooks’s first appearance in this format for three years.

For Durham, England all-rounder Ben Stokes opened and hit an unbeaten 90.

“That was a fantastic start, and it’s exactly what we were looking for. It was a comprehensive win in the end,” said the coach.

“We lost a wicket early, but we didn’t panic. Adam Lyth was the glue throughout the innings. I thought he played really well. But the two debutants were outstanding. Harry Brook and Jonny Tattersall showed us what they can do.

“I thought we backed it up in the field. We set the tone early. We starved Ben Stokes of the strike, and you could see how frustrated he was when he came off.

“The batsmen said back of a length was hard to hit because the pitch was a bit stoppy. Jack Brooks did that exceptionally well.”

Continuing on the individual performances, Gale said: “When you put youngsters in, they’re pretty fearless at times. We tried to talk Harry through his game plan.

“We’ve spoken about him having a simple method, and you could see that. He went out and played with freedom. We’re right behind him on that.

“Jonny’s going from strength to strength with the gloves and the bat, and he’s been a great addition.

“It’s been like having a new signing in our ranks, particularly in one-day cricket. He’s full of confidence at the minute, and he should be proud of himself.

“We knew these first five games were going to be tricky with missing the three international lads and an overseas player. So we need the senior lads to stand up, and that’s what Lythy did tonight. He played a really mature T20 innings.

“Brooksy hasn’t had much of an opportunity in T20 cricket given workloads and stuff, so to come straight in and perform like he did was great.

“Taking wickets up front is always important. You always have a chance if you take wickets in the power play.”

Although he didn’t take a wicket, Azeem Rafiq also encouraged during his first first-team outing of 2018, returning figures of 0-31 from four overs of off-spin.

“Azeem held it together nicely in the middle. That’s his role,” said Gale.

“He comes on straight after the power play and gets through his overs. He was unlucky not to pick up a wicket.”