YORKSHIRE’S much praised pace attack, led by five wickets for Jack Brooks, returned an improved performance through the majority of the second day to bowl Lancashire out for 325 at Headingley.
Andrew Gale’s battery of seamers are widely viewed as the best in the LV= County Championship, even when they have to contend with the loss of Tim Bresnan to England duty.
But they were off colour during the 28 overs possible during Sunday’s first day and during the first half hour to 45 minutes Bank Holiday Monday.
They had allowed Lancashire, notoriously weak on batting, to build a platform at 123-2 after 40 overs of their first innings thanks in the main to opener Paul Horton’s composed 66.
With that in mind, captain Gale and coach Jason Gillespie will have been satisfied to limit the damage and allow themselves 17 overs of batting before close. They reached at 29-0 from 8.1 overs before rain ended play early just before 5.40pm.
Tom Smith also added 54 for Lancashire, while Kyle Hogg finished 47 not out.
The weather forecast for the next two days suggests we may not see another ball bowled.
Brooks, Liam Plunkett and Bresnan had to share the extra load placed on them by Ryan Sidebottom’s absence from just before lunch through to the end of the Lancashire innings due to a left hamstring injury.
Plunkett also returned a season’s best 4-74 from 21.3 overs. Sidebottom must now be a doubt for Saturday’s trip to Northampton.
“Siddy’s just felt something at the bottom of his hamstring, so it will be an ongoing assessment of that,” said Gillespie.
“We will make a decision on whether we need to get him scanned, and we’ll probably know more and make a plan from there.
“At this stage, it looks like a little tweak, and we don’t think it’s serious. But we’ve got to look after him. With Siddy being such an important member of our squad, the leader of our attack, we want to make sure he’s 100 per cent.”
This was Lancashire’s highest score of the season so far. They had only notched 300 or more once before, while their three batting bonus points doubled their season’s tally.
This was a second five-wicket haul in three Championship matches at Headingley this season for Brooks, who has now taken 26 wickets in 2014. Only Steven Finn has taken more in division one.
Brooks bowled Horton, who did not offer a shot, Glen Chapple and Smith. He had Alex Davies caught at second slip and Kabir Ali caught at point. He bowled much fuller than Plunkett overall on a pitch offering a little bit of nibble and swing.
Plunkett, who picked up his first wicket on day one, added the scalps of Ashwell Prince lbw and Steven Croft caught behind down the legside before wrapping up the innings by trapping Simon Kerrigan lbw.
It could have been even better for Yorkshire, who had reduced the score to 183-6. But Smith and Chapple shared 68 for the seventh wicket to underpin their recovery. Hogg’s aggressive innings, more so than any other batsman, pushed the score up beyond 300.
Gillespie added: “It was an improvement (on Sunday) because we didn’t bowl well then. The lads put their hands and said they could do better, and there was an improvement. I still think we can bowl better than that.
“If we bowl to our potential, I think we could have restricted them a bit more. But we’ve started well with the bat, it’s a good pitch, and we’re looking forward to putting a good score on the board.”