Bowlers find visitors less compliant than in first innings after Lancs secure huge lead
Yorkshire 159 and 85 for 2 trail Lancashire 509 for 9 dec (Bohannon 127*, Jennings 114, Lamb 61, Wells 60, Davies 52; Thompson 3-86) by 265 runs
A one-sided Roses match pleases neither set of supporters. The victors are the happier of course; they would prefer a win of any sort to a draw or a defeat. But the bond which unites Lancashire and Yorkshire supporters is not the dry fruit of wishful thinking, at least as far as red-ball cricket goes. There is a genuine respect for the seriousness that informs their rivals’ approach to the game and it is that which makes beating them all the sweeter. If their opponents are no bloody good, the achievement is lessened.
So when Yorkshire collapsed on Thursday morning Lancastrian delight at the quality of their own seam attack was tempered – just a little, mind you – by the witlessness of some of the batting. Rather by the same token, the obduracy shown by Adam Lyth and Tom Kohler-Cadmore in putting on 72 for Yorkshire’s first wicket in 38 overs was a return to the tough, familiar reality of Roses cricket, a struggle in which wickets have to be earned rather than charitably donated by patent incompetence.
The joy when the partnership was broken thanks to a sharp low catch by Luke Wells at leg slip off Matt Parkinson was therefore all the greater. Parkinson had just been switched to the Brian Statham End from where both Dom Bess and Liam Livingstone had extracted plenty of turn and his third ball ended what was only Yorkshire’s third opening stand above 50 this season.
Immediately the temper of the cricket changed. There were shouts and chants from the crowd. Lancashire’s fielders crowded the new batsman, Will Fraine. “Three down tonight, boys,” called Josh Bohannon, who had already enjoyed a fine day. And there was an echo from long leg, where Parkinson was fielding: “Three down tonight.” For the last 35 minutes of play no one thought much about football matches, however important.
Yorkshire did not end the day three down but they did lose a vital second wicket three overs before the close when an inswinger of the highest quality from Saqib Mahmood trapped Kohler-Cadmore leg before wicket for 32. The joy of Mahmood and the Lancashire players knew few bounds but the dismissal had a curious aftermath. From the Yorkshire dressing room came what sounded like a bat being slammed repeatedly against a floor or wall. Connoisseurs of such events – what manner of men are they? – reported that they had never heard anything as loud. It rather suggested that someone still cares about the Roses match.
But we already knew that; indeed we had proof of it. More than 150,000 people watched each of the first two days of this game on Lancashire’s live stream and thousands more did so on television. In addition the couple of thousand spectators or so who turned up to experience the contest at Emirates Old Trafford were by no means confined to the doubly-jabbed and clearly pensionable. There were many hundreds of younger spectators, some of whom, perhaps, were being inducted into what is still one of domestic cricket’s richest rivalries. Let us hope they also turn up on the final day when Steve Patterson and Fraine will resume Yorkshire’s innings knowing that it must last virtually the entire day if their side is not to suffer a damaging defeat. It should be something to see.
But Bohannon will always look back on this warm Saturday with particular fondness. Anyone seeking the reason for that need look no further than the moment 25 minutes after lunch when he nudged Bess for a single backward of square leg and scampered to the second first-class century of his career. It was nothing less than his diligence deserved. The 24-year-old Boltonian may occasionally look like something of a veteran but he is just settling into a career that holds great promise. He and Danny Lamb shared a 150-run stand for the seventh wicket that reinforced the size of the task facing Patterson’s batsmen in their second innings while also suggesting that task is just about manageable on an easy-paced pitch offering some turn.
There was therefore something misleadingly ominous about the ease with which Lancashire extended their lead in the morning session. Lamb picked up ones and twos, Bohannon reached fifty for the fourth time in seven innings and both men played as though batting was exceptionally pleasant work if you could get it. It was also congenial for those watching when Bohannon produced the stroke of the morning, a straight drive off Duanne Olivier to the boundary at the James Anderson End. This, though, is what the Lancashire coaches have come to expect from a batsman who was averaging over 43 before this match began and will be averaging 46.26 when it ends.
Bohannon is also blessed with patience. He was content to be 47 not out overnight and came in to lunch unbeaten on 92. Landmarks, he seemed to be saying, will arrive in their own sweet time. It is the mark of a cricketer who might yet go on to win higher honours in the game.
Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications