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Phil Jaques and Gary Ballance lead the way for Yorkshire against Surrey
Australian batsman Phil Jaques marked what could be his final appearance for Yorkshire by making a stylish 88 as Andrew Gale’s team compiled 316-6 on the first day of their LV= County Championship division one game against Surrey at The Oval.
The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of this season but he offered White Rose supporters a reminder of his quality on an afternoon when it was often difficult to tell the difference between the side which has challenged for the title and the team certain to be relegated.
That was a tribute to the quality of Surrey’s bowling in this game and spectators at The Oval may be set for a close contest on a wicket which is already helping the bowlers a little.
The highlight of the day from the visitors’ perspective was a fourth-wicket stand of 88 between Jaques, who may leave the county, and Kane Williamson, who was yesterday confirmed as Yorkshire’s overseas player for 2014.
“It is great news to have Kane on board for next season,” said Yorkshire’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon.
“He has settled in well and is a popular member of the dressing room. We have seen him excel in four-day cricket in the short time he has been with us and I have no doubt that he will be a tremendous asset in all forms of the game next season.”
Williamson made 23 before he was bowled by slow left-armer Zafar Ansari, who then induced Jaques to drive the ball straight to Gareth Batty at short midwicket six overs later. The Australian faced 169 balls in his 188-minute innings, hitting 12 fours and a six in what was a high quality innings.
The England pair of Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance added 58 for the fifth wicket either side of tea before Bairstow was lbw when attempting to work Tom Jewell to the leg side.
That somewhat sloppy dismissal contrasted with the approach of Ballance, who confirmed the talent the England selectors detected when they picked the left-hander for the forthcoming Ashes tour.
By close of play Ballance had advanced to a pedigree 72 not out but he had lost his skipper Gale who became Jewell’s second wicket of the day when he nicked the seamer to second slip where Vikram Solanki took a fine one-handed catch to his right.
Nevertheless, with Adil Rashid also at the crease on ten not out Yorkshire are well placed to make further progress on the second morning and a total around 350 is probably above par on a wicket which is already taking spin.
In the first session of the game the visitors had progressed to 81-2 off 30 overs, losing Alex Lees for eight when the opener was caught by wicketkeeper Steven Davies when driving at Matt Dunn, the ball being parried to him by third slip Gary Wilson.
Fifteen overs later Lyth was pouched down the leg side by Davies off the persevering Dunn for 24, an innings which had included four boundaries.
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