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Yorkshire's Adam Lyth encouraged to focus on building an innings
10:16am Tuesday 17th September 2013 in Sport
Andrew Gale has hailed Adam Lyth’s response to being given a kick up the backside by his Yorkshire team-mates.
The left-handed opener signed a new two-year contract with the county through until December 2015 only last month following suggestions he was interesting LV= County Championship title leaders Durham.
The 25-year-old from Whitby is known for being as fluent a batsman as there is in the county game when on song. But his strength can often be his downfall.
He got to 95 before playing needlessly outside off-stump against Luke Fletcher and getting caught behind against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge last month, for example.
He then flashed hard outside off-stump and was superbly caught in the slips by Ben Stokes off Chris Rushworth early in the first innings of the defeat against Durham at Scarborough.
But the ex-England Lions man showed a different side of his game in last week’s draw against Sussex at Hove, batting patiently for 93 off 205 balls in the first innings before reaching 40 not out in the second innings on Saturday when rain scuppered the visitors’ chance of victory.
Second-placed Yorkshire head into today’s clash with Middlesex at Headingley knowing they have to win to take the title race into the season’s last week.
They are 27½ points behind leaders Durham with two matches left, and they also need Notts to do them a favour by beating Durham at Chester-le-Street.
Captain Gale said: “The players talk to each other about how they can improve their games, and I think a few of the other lads have been disappointed by the fashion in which Lythy’s given his wicket away.
“They’ve let that be known to him. But he’s got his head down now, and he’s switched on.
“I’m really pleased with the way he’s gone about his business. He’s probably felt under a little bit of pressure for his spot with Alex Lees doing so well and breathing down his neck.
“That’s the way we want him to play. He can’t go out and play at one pace as he has done in previous matches and play big booming drives. He’s got to wait until he’s in – then he can start to express himself."
Lyth has scored 702 runs from 14 matches this season, including one hundred and four fifties. He is Yorkshire’s fourth leading run-scorer.
There is still plenty of room for improvement though, and a prolific last fortnight of the season will build his confidence ahead of 2014.
“There’s no technical issues with him,” added Gale. “His game’s technically sound, he’s just got to know how to build an innings. That’s always been the issue with him.
“He’s got one of the best cover drives in the game, but it can be his downfall as well. We’ve seen that there’s been a number of times when he’s played it when he isn’t even in double figures – it’s cost him his wicket.”
Although Yorkshire’s title hopes look bleak, Gale insists they will not give up the fight. They can take heart from beating Middlesex by ten wickets at Lord’s earlier in the season.
“There’s often a twist in the tail, so you never can tell. We’ve got two games left, and we think we can win them,” he added.
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