YORKSHIRE’S opening partnership between Alex Lees and Adam Lyth has been compared to one of the all-time great alliances by their captain Andrew Gale.
Left-handers Lees and Lyth have turned heads with their performances at the top of the order in both the LV= County Championship and, most recently, the Royal London one-day Cup.
They have shared partnerships of 375 and 270 in four-day matches against Northamptonshire and Durham and on Tuesday, they put on 195 in the one-day win against Northants at Wantage Road - the scene of that 375.
Lees scored his maiden List A century, 102 off 92 balls, and Lyth added 84 off 88 as the Vikings secured a second Group A win out of three with ease.
In all first-team cricket this summer, they have scored 2,841 runs between them.
Ahead of today’s clash with Worcestershire at Headingley (10.30am start), Gale said: “They are almost cementing a Matthew Hayden-Justin Langer type partnership.
“We call Alex 'Haydos'. He’s a real bully the way he hits the ball, stands tall and hits the ball bloody hard when he hits it right.
“They are free-flowing players, although I think they are both very different. They are both very driven, and I think they complement each other really well.
“In Championship cricket, a lot of teams tend to bowl quite short at us because they drive the ball so well. They then pull their lengths back, and when I go in at four or five they are still bowling short, which is nice.
“They drive so well and put the bowlers under pressure a lot early on in their innings without really having to try. You saw against Northants that after ten overs we were 50-60 for none without really playing a shot in anger.
“Lees has come into his own this year off the pitch and become a vital part of the dressing room, becoming a voice, and Lyth has matured a lot over the last two years. He’s a senior player now.
“Lees is very focused and very driven and Lyth is a bit more laid back.”
Both players have been mentioned as future England openers during the last few weeks.
Lyth was the first man in the Championship to pass 1,000 runs and was talked about extensively as a replacement for Alastair Cook in the Test team when he could not buy a run in the series against Sri Lanka and India.
Cook seems to have come out of that run of poor form heading into today’s fourth Test against India, but Gale believes his team-mates’ chance will come.
“I would hate to see them go, but I’m sure at some stage they are going to get the nod,” he said.
“I think Lyth is probably ahead of Lees at the minute in consistency throughout the season, and I would expect him to be next in line for an England call-up.
“Lees has had a fantastic season and has backed up a bright start last season, and it’s always a test of a good player when they come back the second season.
“The world is their oyster. It’s there for the taking, and there is probably no better time to be coming through in English cricket and trying to get an England place.”