Joe Root scores maiden Roses century as Yorkshire fight back against Lancashire

Joe Root’s maiden Roses century – secured with England colleague James Anderson in opposition – gave Yorkshire a realistic chance of an LV Insurance County Championship draw against Lancashire at Headingley.

The 31-year-old has slotted seamlessly back into county cricket having resigned as England’s Test captain last month, posting 75 in a draw at Essex last week followed by this serene 147 off 218 balls.

Yorkshire, replying to a first-innings 566 for nine declared, are aiming to extend their unbeaten start to 2022 to a fifth game and started the day on 53 for two.

By the close, they had reached 356 for eight from 118 overs, 210 behind and 61 short of the follow-on target.

Root, whose previous Roses best was 22 in six innings, shared 154 for the sixth wicket from late morning to midway through the evening with Harry Duke, the young wicketkeeper who made a dogged 40.

He also shared 66 for the fifth wicket in as many balls with Harry Brook, who continued his red-hot form with a rapid 41.

Tom Bailey and Matt Parkinson stood out with three wickets apiece for Lancashire, the latter getting Root caught at slip late in the day to open up the prospect of a third Red Rose win of the season.

Brook played superbly during his 33-ball innings. While it was the only period in the day when Lancashire’s bowlers erred, Brook drove with supreme confidence in an innings more eye-catching than Root’s.

The 23-year-old missed out on joining Geoffrey Boycott, Darren Lehmann and Anthony McGrath in posting seven successive fifties for Yorkshire but took his tally of Division One runs to 676 at an average just over 135.

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It would be a major surprise if he does not make his England Test debut during the next couple of months. If he does, he will line up alongside former national captain Root.

The latter was far more understated but no less confident in the Leeds sunshine and faced Anderson (one for 83 from 24 overs) on a pitch still good for batting though showing signs of some uneven bounce.

Root clipped his England colleague to fine leg for his first boundary and edged him wide of the slips for another on the way to a pre-lunch half-century off 73 balls.

Shortly after the break, he caressed a drive against him through the covers for another four as Yorkshire moved to 182 for five.

The morning yielded three wickets for the Red Rose, claimed by Bailey, Anderson and Parkinson.

Bailey had nightwatchman Tom Loten lbw with a looping slower ball, Anderson gave opener George Hill (25) a working over with the short ball and had him caught at midwicket off a miscued pull and Parkinson bowled an advancing Brook as the score fell to 134 for five after 41 overs.

Root edged Luke Wood between keeper and slip before pushing onto three figures, achieved off 150 balls in the dying embers of the afternoon with a worked single to leg off Parkinson (three for 79 from 34 overs).

Yorkshire batted through the afternoon unbeaten, reaching tea at 251 for five.

Root also swept and reverse-swept with authority against the leg-spin of Parkinson.

His sixth-wicket partner Duke dropped anchor at the other end before being bowled trying to scoop Parkinson as the score fell to 288 for six in the 101st over.

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Bailey, Lancashire’s best bowler on show with three for 56 from 25 overs, trapped Dom Bess lbw the over before Parkinson had Root caught at slip trying to work to leg as the score fell to 331 for eight to give the Red Rose encouragement.

Somerset put neighbors to the sword in run glut on placid pitch

By Scyld Berry at Bristol

It has not been a good week for insertions. At Lord’s, Middlesex sent Nottinghamshire in to bat first, which resulted in their chasing a target of 516. At Headingley, Yorkshire sent in Lancashire, who declared at 566 for nine, and when Warwickshire invited Northamptonshire to bat, they gratefully responded with 597 for six.

But nowhere did the decision to bowl first backfire so badly as it did here, culminating in Gloucestershire losing their derby match against Somerset by an innings and 246 runs: Gloucestershire’s biggest defeat by their neighbours, and Somerset’s second-biggest victory in first-class cricket .

With the championship almost at the halfway point, Gloucestershire and Kent appear to be competing for relegation with Northants, while Surrey, Hampshire and Lancashire are leading the field at the top.

Somerset scored 591 for seven after being sent in on a pitch which did not respond as much as the Gloucestershire captain Graeme van Buuren expected.

The captaincy has not brought the best out of his batting – 94 runs in eight innings – and that was before he hurt himself so badly when diving to save a boundary here that he could not bat in either innings.

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Jack Leach, given a good long bowl for the first time this season, took five wickets for 49 in Gloucestershire’s first innings and match figures of eight for 90. In Test cricket, only 16 of Leach’s 79 wickets have been left-handed batsmen, but in this game, six of his eight wickets were left-handers.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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