Yorkshire turn the tide as County suffer
Fifty-five runs to the good with three wickets in hand didn’t indicate dominance by any means but it was healthy enough and more than deserved.
By the close of play, however, the tables had been turned and it was the away side who were dictating terms.
One-hundred and twenty-two to the good, 10 wickets left in the pavilion, two unbeaten centurions still at the crease and half the scheduled time remaining represents an attractive equation considering where they were and one they will expect to turn it into a winning one.
On the flip side, the County have had plenty of experience of chasing the game this year and they are going to have to, once again, work extremely hard to stay afloat.
In the morning, Ben Duckett added to his steadily burgeoning reputation as his half century enabled the hosts to add 60 to their overnight total.
After Ian Butler had departed early on when he drove Steven Patterson to cover, Maurice Chambers lent some robust support which included a firm blow on the head from Jack Brooks and a couple of pure straight drives.
But it was Duckett who did the majority of the work, making the most of whatever loose stuff was dished up as he coasted to a second 50 in as many outings.
Yet while his batting, albeit from too low at number eight, has an air of maturity about it, his dismissal was either stupid, arrogant or a bit of both.
One of the modern breed of batsman, Duckett possesses the ability to switch hit and isn’t afraid to use it but his crude attempt to Adil Rashid’s first delivery ended up with his stumps being rattled.
It was neither the right time or the right place and with Chambers doing just fine at the other end, Duckett would’ve been more than capable of putting a few more on the total, runs that are desperately needed by a side with well-documented batting troubles.
Nevertheless, a lead of 115 wasn’t to be sniffed at and was a good foundation from which to seek an opening victory but by the time the tea interval arrived, it was the visitors who were ahead on points.
There were a few alarms as the pitch played the odd trick but both Adam Lyth and Alex Lees progressed with little difficulty against honest, if unspectacular, fare.
Lyth was the more fluent of the pair and reached his 50 in half the time it took his junior partner and when it was time for a brew and a sandwich, the deficit had been wiped out and a lead was in the process of being established.
There was more of the same in the evening and when the score reached 182 it became the highest opening partnership, beating Chris Rogers and Sam Robson for Middlesex against Yorkshire, anywhere in the country this season.
The run-rate slowed as the hosts tightened things up and Rob Newton spilled a tricky chance at midwicket to reprieve Lees off Matt Spriegel but that failed to disturb Lyth who, after spending 53 deliveries in the 90s, reached an excellent century with a sumptuous cover drive off Andrew Hall.
His partner wasn’t too far behind and while his century didn’t reach the same aesthetically pleasing heights, that is irrelevant in the greater scheme of things.
And the fruit of their labour come the close was an unbroken stand of 237 with the power to add. Advantage Yorkshire.