JASON GILLESPIE has backed Adam Lyth to make the step up to Test cricket if called upon after scoring his fifth LV= County Championship century of the season to put Yorkshire on course for a Roses win at Emirates Old Trafford.
At the halfway stage of this clash, the division one leaders are in complete control of their 14th match of the season at 396-5 from 115 overs in reply to 278.
Lyth underpinned Yorkshire’s total with a composed 182 not out off 318 balls with 17 fours and a six, and he shared century partnerships for the fourth and sixth wickets with Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid, who were both aggressive for 60 and 44 unbeaten respectively.
Lyth’s hundred, his second in Roses cricket and his second above 150 this year, was the perfect example of how to bat on a pitch which is good for batting even though there is assistance for seam and spin bowlers alike.
Lancashire’s innings involved too many soft dismissals, yet Lyth never looked like giving his wicket away even though he offered a very tough chance low down to Paul Horton at slip off Stephen Parry’s left-arm spin on 57.
Having long since passed 1,000 Championship runs for the season, the 26-year-old left-hander reached 6,000 first-class career runs when he got to 38.
Lyth was talked about as an option to replace Alastair Cook at the top of England’s order earlier in the summer, and that subject might be revisited again next April with Sam Robson’s place not certain for a tour to the West Indies.
With England set for a winter of entirely one-day cricket in preparation for the World Cup, it is likely Alex Hales will come to the fore and be talked about at length. Lyth, however, has done all he can to be seriously considered.
"I think he's ready now,” said first-team coach Gillespie. “If England's selectors come knocking, he won't let them down. I think he's good enough. He's putting performances on the board, and you can't be ignored forever.
"This is one of Adam's best knocks, certainly from what I've seen.
“I think what he's shown this year is that he's been able to adapt to different situations and conditions and play accordingly.
"We've played on some fast and bouncy tracks, ones that have seamed around a lot and some low and slower wickets. He got some runs down at Arundel on a slow and low wicket. He’s having a wonderful summer.”
The partnerships between Lyth and Bairstow and Lyth and Rashid came during the afternoon and evening sessions, and both times they helped Yorkshire avert a touch of danger.
Firstly, they slipped quickly from 149-1 to 163-3 and latterly from 266-3 to 281-5. Parry was Lancashire’s standout bowler with 2-61, getting Kane Williamson stumped down leg and Andrew Gale caught at mid-wicket on the pull shortly after lunch.
Yorkshire, who lead by 118, claimed four batting bonus points.
LV= County Championship division one
Lancashire v Yorkshire
at Emirates Old Trafford
Lancashire First Innings 278.
Yorkshire First Innings
A Lyth not out 182
A Z Lees lbw b Bailey 40
K S Williamson st Davies b Parry 46
A W Gale c Khawaja b Parry 6
J M Bairstow b Croft 60
J A Leaning lbw b Kerrigan 1
A U Rashid not out 44
Extras (b2 lb10 w1 nb4) 17
Total 5 wkts (115 overs) 396
Fall: 1-72 2-149 3-163 4-266 5-281.
Bowling: Chapple 27-8-79-0, Bailey 25-5-77-1, Kerrigan 22-1-78-1, Croft 11-0-33-1, Smith 12-1-56-0, Parry 18-2-61-2.