Title-chasing Yorkshire made light of losing the toss and held the upper hand by the close of the first day of the Division One County Cricket Championship clash with Lancashire at Old Trafford.
Andrew Gale’s bowlers dismissed Lancashire side for what seems a below-par total of 278 before openers Adam Lyth and Alex Lees added 61 for no wicket in 19 overs by close of play.
Ryan Sidebottom, Jack Brooks and Adil Rashid all took three wickets on a day which did nothing to ease the home side’s relegation fears.
Indeed, the match could scarcely have got off to a worse start for Lancashire as Yorkshire seamer Sidebottom removed took two wickets with the second and third balls of Lancashire’s innings.
First, Paul Horton was lbw for nought when comprehensively beaten by a ball which swung back into him. The next delivery was similar but slightly outside the off stump and it set a very different problem for the left-handed Usman Khawaja, who could only edge it to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
Luis Reece and Ashwell Prince ensured that Yorkshire made no further breakthroughs with the new ball and the pair had added 96 when Prince, having made a polished 53 off 60 balls, attempted a reverse sweep off Rashid but only succeeded in playing the ball onto his stumps.
Reece reached his first half-century since last September when he square cut Sidebottom for four and the Lancashire opener was 53 not out at lunch when Steven Croft was unbeaten on 14 and the total was 121 for three.
Lancashire lost a wicket without addition to that score two balls after lunch when Sidebottom’s full length delivery had Reece lbw. However, Croft and Alex Davies profited from the inaccuracy of the Yorkshire bowlers to add 48 in nine overs before Brooks trapped Croft lbw for 38.
Davies followed his team mate to the pavilion ten overs later for 35 when he drove Richard Pyrah to short extra cover where Jack Leaning took a fine diving catch to leave the home side on 194 for six. However, Tom Smith and Stephen Parry batted more circumspectly and took their side to 232 for six at tea.
Again, though, the interval proved fatal for Lancashire as Parry was adjudged caught behind off Brooks for 17 in the second over after the resumption. That dismissal began a poor hour for Lancashire, who lost their last four wickets for 31 runs in nine overs.
The most significant of these was that of Smith, who made 57 off 98 balls before a careless slash off Brooks gave Bairstow his second catch and the Yorkshire seamer his third wicket. Rashid wrapped up the innings by bowling Chapple through the gate for nine and then having Simon Kerrigan very well caught by Lees running back from mid on to take a skier.
Sidebottom, who took three for 42, was the most economical member of the Yorkshire attack but Brooks, three for 64, and Rashid, three for 77, also played important roles on what developed into a fine day for Gale’s men.
Lees was 36 not out and Lyth unbeaten on 25 by close of play by which time the openers had laid sound foundations for a substantial first innings total.
Lancashire opener Luis Reece admitted his disappointment with their performance.
“It was a bit of a tough day,” he said. “Three hundred would have been a par score on there so I think we’re a little bit disappointed with our final total. But we have to come back on the second day and get a couple of early wickets and get ourselves back in the game.
“We came back well after losing two wickets in the first over and it was a bit disappointing that we couldn’t kick on after that.
“Ashwell Prince is brilliant to bat with and he played very positively to take the pressure off me.”