YORKSHIRE dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on a comprehensive LV= County Championship innings win over Northamptonshire at Headingley yesterday to get up and running for 2014.
The White Rose county claimed 23 points to go with the 11 they secured for last week’s opening round draw against Somerset at Taunton.
Having been asked to follow-on in their second innings - Northants were bowled out for 94 in the first - in reply to Yorkshire’s 459-9 declared, they lost six wickets yesterday morning to slip to 245 all out.
Last season’s promotion winners put up little resistance as only added 96 runs.
Their only positive of day four was a tenth-wicket stand of 50 between David Murphy and Azharullah, but by then it was too little, too late.
Steve Patterson struck twice yesterday, while Ryan Sidebottom, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid and Jack Brooks all struck once.
Brooks finished with 3-76 in the innings to contribute to career-best match figures of 8-112 against his first county, who he left at the end of 2012.
This may not have been a performance which makes the rest of Division One sit up and take notice as Northants are leading candidates for relegation, and they will suffer a few more defeats before the summer is out.
But it was job done ahead of bigger tasks against Middlesex at Lord’s on Sunday and Durham at Emirates Durham the following week.
Despite Brooks’s excellent efforts, Gary Ballance’s 174 in the first innings was the stand-out performance in the match.
"I think we only played to 80 percent of our potential,” said Gale.
“To get 450 was a good effort on that deck. I thought Gary Ballance was outstanding.
“It was a tough pitch first day, and I was probably starting to regret batting at lunch if I'm being honest.
"I thought the sun was going to come out. It looked a good pitch all the way through the game, and I thought it was going be a flat Headingley deck. It's done a bit.
"From a bowling point of view, I thought we were a bit ragged yesterday afternoon. But, on the whole, it was pretty ruthless.
"The top order didn't strike with the bat, and there was a few more runs in there. Leesy (Alex Lees) played well, but the difference in the side was Gary Ballance. We've still got quite a lot left in the tank.”
Sidebottom had Rob Newton caught at point in the first over yesterday before Brooks had Maurice Chambers caught at second slip.
Plunkett then got Andrew Hall caught and bowled with a sharp reflex left-handed catch as Northants slipped to 181-7.
Patterson had David Willey caught behind in his first over of the day before Murphy and Azharullah resisted for nearly an hour. Rashid wrapped up the win when he had the latter caught behind at 12.55pm.
Ballance did not take the field yesterday after cutting a finger on his right hand on Tuesday, although it is not broken and he will be fit to face Middlesex - potentially as captain.
Meanwhile, Gale said that York-based Jonny Bairstow could return to the side for the trip to Durham on May 4. He was initially supposed to miss the first four games, but his broken finger is progressing well.