Yorkshire vs Middlesex - Day 1

Full Scorecard

Close: Yorkshire 291/5

Gary Ballance gave a broad hint to the England selectors that he is still around by scoring his first Championship century since last August on the first day of Yorkshire's Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex at Scarborough.

He had reached 106 by the close and with further strong contributions from Alex Lees and Tim Bresnan the title-holders were able to end the day on 291 for five.        

Winning the toss on a sunny morning, Yorkshire made the worst possible start as Adam Lyth failed to remove his bat from Tim Murtagh's first delivery and was caught behind by John Simpson.

But Lees looked in good form from the off and after Kane Williamson had taken 36 balls to settle in with his first boundary the pair added 85 together before New Zealand's captain also showed little inclination to withdraw his bat and he gave a second catch to Simpson, this time off James Franklin.

Just before Williamson's departure for 28, Lees had completed a confident half-century by off-driving Ollie Rayner for six, the ball being well held by a spectator on the back row of the Peasholm Park stand.

Lees has had a lean time of it in home Championship matches for quite a while and his chance of making a sizable contribution disappeared when he was taken at second slip by Rayner off Murtagh for 63 from 99 balls with eight fours and two sixes. It was his best score on home soil since hitting 83 off Somerset's attack at Headingley in September, 2014.

Captain, Andrew Gale, in urgent need of runs, fell lbw to a full ball from Toby Roland-Jones for only seven, and at 131 for four this was another case of Yorkshire needing someone from the middle order to help shore them up.

Bresnan once more answered the call with his third 60-plus score in five innings since his belated start to the campaign following a pre-season calf injury.

Both batsmen entertained the 3,200 crowd to some quality stroke-play, Ballance moving to his 50 in the over before tea from 121 deliveries with nine fours and after the interval another Ballance boundary brought Yorkshire their first batting bonus point at 202 for four.

Bresnan's single that took him to his half-century also raised the century stand but when it had reached 126 he was bowled by the persevering Murtagh for 63 from 123 deliveries with ten boundaries.

There was no stopping Ballance, however, who clipped a second successive four off Murtagh to arrive at his first Championship century since making 165 against Sussex at Hove last August. In a chanceless display, Ballance had struck 16 fours and faced 202 balls in going to his 14th first class century for his county. His previous one had been for the Champion county against MCC in March.

 

Tea: Yorkshire 183/4

Half-centuries for Alex Lees and Gary Ballance helped Yorkshire to 183 for four by tea on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex at Scarborough. Yorkshire strengthened their bowling attack by bringing back Jack Brooks after he had been missing for a month with a quad injury, and off-spinner, Azeem Rafiq, was also included.

The County Champions could not have made a worse start after winning the toss, Adam Lyth failing to remove his bat to Tim Murtagh's first delivery and being caught behind by John Simpson diving to his left. Lees and Kane Williamson then added 85 for the second wicket before the New Zealand captain departed shortly before lunch.

It had taken Williamson 36 deliveries to score his first boundary but the tempo increased as both batsmen got on top of Middlesex's pace attack and when off-spinner Ollie Rayner became his side's fifth bowler, Lees off-drove him for six to reach his half-century from 85 balls, his 50 also including four fours. Williamson was on 28 when he also was out leaving a ball alone without removing the bat against James Franklin. He had faced 85 balls for his 28.

Both Lees and Ballance looked in good order after lunch until Lees edged Murtagh to Rayner at second slip for 63 from 99 deliveries with eight fours and two sixes. Once again, captain Andrew Gale failed to make much impact, being lbw to Toby Roland-Jones for only seven, but the in-form Tim Bresnan helped steer Yorkshire out of trouble with a productive fifth wicket stand with Ballance who reached his half-century in the final over before tea. He had received 121 deliveries and hit nine fours. Bresnan was on 28 at the interval.

 

Lunch: Yorkshire 96/2

A fine half-century from Alex Lees helped Yorkshire recover from the first ball dismissal of Adam Lyth on the first morning of the Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex at Scarborough.

Lees and Kane Williamson then added 85 for the second wicket before the New Zealand captain departed and at lunch Yorkshire were 96 for two with Lees unbeaten on 59.

Yorkshire strengthened their bowling attack by bringing back Jack Brooks after he had been missing for a month with a quad injury, and off-spinner, Azeem Rafiq was also included.

The County Champions could not have made a worse start after winning the toss, Lyth failing to remove his bat to Tim Murtagh's first delivery and being caught behind by John Simpson diving to his left.

It took Williamson 36 deliveries to get off the mark but the tempo increased as both batsmen got on top of Middlesex's pace attack and when off-spinner Ollie Rayner became his side's fifth bowler, Lees off-drove him for six to reach his half-century from 85 balls, his 50 also including four fours.

The score was still on 85 when Williamson was also out leaving a ball alone without removing the bat against James Franklin. He had faced 85 balls for his 28.

Gary Ballance joined the in-form Lees and was four not out at the lunch interval.

 

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Yorkshire win the toss and opt to bat first.

Middlesex XI: Robson, Gubbins, Eskinazi, Bailey, Simpson+, Franklin*, Stirling, Rayner, Roland-Jones, Finn, Murtagh.