Title-chasing Yorkshire made light of losing the toss and clearly held the upper hand by the close of the first day of the LV= Division One Roses match at Emirates Old Trafford.
Andrew Gale’s bowlers dismissed the Lancashire side for what seemed a below-par total of 278 before openers Adam Lyth and Alex Lees added 61 for no wicket in 19 overs by close of the day’s 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 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 121-3.
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 10 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 194-6. However, Tom Smith and Stephen Parry batted more circumspectly and took their side to 232-6 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 3-42, was the most economical member of the Yorkshire attack but Brooks,3-64, and Rashid, 3-77, 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.
LV = Division One, Lancashire 278 Yorkshire 61-0 at close.