YORKSHIRE provided further evidence of the strength in depth they hope will guide them to their first title since 2001 after dominating the opening day of their championship match with Nottinghamshire.
Despite losing Kane Williamson to New Zealand’s tour of the West Indies – quickly replaced by Aaron Finch – and Gary Ballance, Joe Root and Liam Plunkett to England’s first Test squad, Yorkshire used their resources to keep their momentum going.
Their bowlers stepped up in Plunkett’s absence to dismiss Nottinghamshire for just 205 after they decided to bat first upon winning the toss and then 20-year-old York ace Jack Leaning hit an unbeaten 23 to help Yorkshire recover from the early loss of both openers.
It was an impressive all-round display, typified by the performance of Leaning in his third Championship match in refusing to buckle against a fired-up Peter Siddle when Adam Lyth and Alex Lees both fell to catches behind after edging the Australian Test bowler.
“It’s a great experience for a young lad and it’s nice to be able to step up to the challenge so far,” said Leaning, the son of former York City and Sheffield United goalkeeper Andy. “It’s good to test yourself against some of the best players in the world and I’ll go again tomorrow and hopefully finish on top.”
Leaning was also at the centre of the day’s major controversy involving the run-out of Nottinghamshire captain Chris Read, who was clearly unhappy at being given out after lunging to complete a single after driving to mid-off.
Umpire Martin Saggers gave Read out, who had driven to substitute fielder Josh Shaw at mid-off, who parried to Leaning at mid-on to throw down the stumps although Read’s accidental collision with Patterson may have contributed to his frustration.
Read’s departure at 139-7 left Nottinghamshire in serious trouble after they were unable to cope with Tim Bresnan and Jack Brooks on a bouncy pitch. They claimed three wickets apiece. The situation could have been even worse had several sharp chances not also been dropped by Yorkshire.
But Yorkshire’s hopes of finishing off the innings quickly were frustrated by a 65-run partnership between Siddle and Luke Fletcher spanning only 11 overs that threatened to allow them to reach a challenging total.
It was only broken when both Fletcher and last man Andre Adams drove Adil Rashid to long on, leaving Siddle unbeaten on 39 off 35 balls and clearly fired up for Yorkshire’s reply.
Running in from the Kirkstall Lane End, it took just two balls for Siddle to make his mark, getting one to lift and entice Lyth into edging behind quickly followed by Lees pushing outside off-stump to a full-length ball.
It needed great composure from Leaning, given his chance at number three following Williamson’s departure for the Caribbean, to prevent Nottinghamshire making further inroads into Yorkshire’s batting line-up.
“We’re told that it’s always performance-based with selections, so if you take your chance in the seconds you put yourself in the frame for the first team,” he said. “I’ve got to warrant my place in the side and hopefully I’ll keep it by doing that.
“The youth system has always been a strength of Yorkshire. We’ve always produced a lot of our own players and the talent coming through is strong. If you’re a young player and perform well, you’re rewarded with a chance to play. It’s a really good place to be as a young player.”
LV= County Championship
Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire
at Headingley Carnegie
Nottinghamshire First Innings
P A Jaques c Lyth b Bresnan 20
A D Hales b Patterson 12
M J Lumb c Bairstow b Bresnan 45
J W A Taylor lbw b Brooks 3
S R Patel c A U Rashid b Brooks 0
M H Wessels c Lyth b Brooks 24
C M W Read run out 30
P M Siddle not out 39
A Shahzad lbw b Bresnan 0
L J Fletcher c Bresnan b A U Rashid 29
A R Adams c Bresnan b A U Rashid 0
Extras (lb3) 3
Total (56 overs) 205
Fall: 1-32 2-36 3-46 4-46 5-90 6-135 7-139 8-139 9-204.
Bowling: Bresnan 16-3-43-3, Brooks 16-3-74-3, Patterson 15-6-44-1, Pyrah 4-1-12-0, A U Rashid 5-0-29-2.
Yorkshire First Innings
A Lyth c Read b Siddle 0
A Z Lees c Read b Siddle 9
J A Leaning not out 23
A W Gale not out 16
Extras (lb2 nb2) 4
Total 2 wkts (16.5 overs) 52
Fall: 1-0 2-21.
Bowling: Siddle 7-2-13-2, Fletcher 5-1-15-0, Adams 3-0-13-0, Shahzad 1.5-0-9-0.