JACK BROOKS believes his performance with bat and ball and Yorkshire’s winning position in their ongoing LV= County Championship match against his former county Northamptonshire has helped to justify his decision to leave Wantage Road in late 2012.
Brooks’s 37 not out and 5-36 were his best returns in both disciplines for the White Rose in Championship cricket, and has helped leave Northants in disarray ahead of today’s third day at Headingley.
In reply to Yorkshire’s 459-9 declared, the visitors will start their second innings this morning having been bowled out for just 94 in less than a session (30 overs) and asked to follow-on. There was no play beyond tea due to rain and bad light.
When Brooks, now 29-years-old, opted to leave Northampton, he chose Yorkshire over a host of other counties.
He has impressed in both Championship and Twenty20 cricket, although yesterday proved to be his best day as his Northants supporting parents watched on.
“I’ve kind of justified my move so far with how this game’s gone,” said Brooks, who did the damage between lunch and tea with a seven-over second spell of 4-19 from the Football Stand End.
“Last year they had a fantastic season, and I was really pleased for them. But whatever they do over the next few years, I won’t ever regret moving up here - and the last couple of days justify that.
“The way my cricket’s going forward with this team, it’s a great club to be part of.”
Gary Ballance continued his stunning recent form for Yorkshire before lunch by completing a 256-ball 174, also his best innings in White Rose colours.
He shared 72 for the eighth wicket with Ryan Sidebottom before Brooks and Steve Patterson added an entertaining 61 for the tenth. Yorkshire’s innings included a world-record equalling eight lbw dismissals.
Ballance reached his 150 with an audacious ramp shot for six over the slips against Steven Crook, a shot which perfectly demonstrated the confidence of being in the form of his life. Brooks also hooked Maurice Chambers for six.
Sidebottom expertly supported Brooks with 4-16 from nine overs. He will open the bowling this morning on a hat-trick having claimed the last two wickets of the innings with successive deliveries.
Having had Stephen Peters lbw and Kyle Coetzer caught at second slip by Adam Lyth, he returned to wrap up the innings by bowling Chambers and getting Azharullah caught at first slip by Lyth.
Brooks bowled James Middlebrook in his first spell from the Kirkstall Lane End.
He then got good friend Rob Newton caught behind by Andrew Hodd, Andrew Hall smartly caught low down at third slip by Kane Williamson, David Willey caught in the gully by Liam Plunkett and Crook caught at point by Adil Rashid.
The wickets of Newton and Hall came in the 17th over, while Plunkett was the other wicket taker.
Brooks added: “It was a great day for Yorkshire. We stuck to our task well. We knew what we had to do with the ball, and it came out well for all of us.
"It's still a reasonable deck to bat on if you bat properly. But hopefully, if the weather clears up over the next couple of days, we can do that again.”