STEVE Patterson admits that while being extremely pleased with Yorkshire’s start to their Specsavers County Championship campaign with two wins and a draw, there is one area highlighted for improvement - to be ahead of the game from the off.

The White Rose play at Emerald Headingley for the first time in four-day cricket this season, starting today, against a Hampshire side who sit second in Division One.

Yorkshire, third in the table, have drawn one and won two from their first three away games against Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and, most recently, Kent. Hampshire have won three from four.

In the draw at Notts and the victory over Kent, Yorkshire had to battle back from early strife, whereas it was early domination in the innings win over Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, with coach Andrew Gale describing it as “the perfect four-day performance”.

“We’re only three games in, but we’ve started well,” said captain Patterson.

“The first day to day-and-a-half at Trent Bridge wasn’t great, but since then we’ve played bloomin’ good cricket.

“The challenge with a young side is to keep that up, to keep that consistency.

“We showed on day one at Kent that if you’re off it, you can be really up against it. I think we were six down inside 28 overs. On another day, you aren’t coming back.

“Somehow, we managed to stay in the game, got over 200, which gave us a fighting chance. Then, from the middle of day two onwards, we drove the game.

“It’s pleasing to win a game when you have to work as hard as we did, but we’ve spoken about it - we need to get ahead of the game and win that way.

“If we’re going to be a really good side, competing with the best teams, we knows that’s something we need to improve on. Hopefully we can do that against Hampshire.

“But three games on the road, it’s not easy. So a draw and two wins is absolutely fantastic.”

Yorkshire now have back-to-back games at Headingley, with Essex also visiting.

There has often been more in the Headingley pitches for the bowlers, and Patterson believes that will continue despite the introduction of the new rule on the use of the roller.

Last year, only the light roller could be used once the game had started, whereas this year both teams get use of the heavy roller once apiece once the game begins.

“We know how to play at home, and we’re confident,” said Patterson.

“With the new rule with the roller, I think the pitches are going to be slightly better than we’ve seen over the last couple of years. But I don’t think it will make much difference at Headingley.

“We’ve played on two very good pitches at Hampshire and Kent and have taken 20 wickets on both occasions, so we’re confident.

“We know if we get enough runs, we’ll go close to taking 20 wickets.”

Yorkshire will be without Tim Bresnan for the next four to six weeks due to a left calf tear and Matthew Waite (ankle). David Willey is set to feature after his World Cup omission.

Hampshire will be without World Cup duo James Vince and Liam Dawson, so Sam Northeast will captain the side. Both Northeast and Indian Test batsman Ajinkya Rahane scored centuries in beating Notts on the Isle of Wight earlier this week.