Time to back Yorkshire’s England stars in Test at Headingley says Gillespie

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JASON GILLESPIE last night urged the region’s cricket fans to descend on Headingley cricket ground this week as Yorkshire duo Joe Root and Gary Ballance look to continue their fine start to this year’s Test programme.

The pair were in majestic form at Lord’s as England fell just one wicket short of what would have been a remarkable victory over Sri Lanka.

Root, pictured, hit an unbeaten 200 in the first innings, and Ballance claimed his maiden Test century in the second innings as the tourists came within one wicket of losing.

Sales for the second Test at Leeds, which starts on Friday, are on course to exceed the 29,000 that attended last summer’s international against New Zealand.

More than 10,000 tickets have been sold for Friday’s opening day, while day two is edging ever closer to a sell out with the newly-named White Rose stand having proved very popular with supporters.

Plenty of tickets are available for days three and four, however.

Aand Yorkshire head coach Gillespie has urged the county to get behind not only Root and Ballance but also Liam Plunkett, who returned to the England fold at Lord’s after seven years in the international cricketing wilderness.

The former Australian international said: “Everyone at Yorkshire is absolutely pleased as punch for those two lads.

“For Joe to get that double and Gaz his maiden Test century was great.

“It was almost a case of ‘No Yorkies, no runs for England’.

“It is exciting and I believe the Yorkshire public should get down to Headingley and watch two young Yorkshire batsmen hopefully score some more runs for their country.

“What happened at Lord’s was fantastic for the county and an absolute credit to themselves.

“They have both worked incredibly hard at their games.

“The effort they put in is huge and it was certainly not a surprise to see them doing as well as they are doing.

“I see the hard work they put into to not only their game but also the preparation.

“We are all delighted for them.”

The second Test will be the first time England have met Sri Lanka in the longest form of the game at Headingley.

With both sides producing such a thrilling finish at Lord’s, interest is likely to be high in a contest that, thanks to Sri Lanka clinging on for the draw, will decide the result of the series.

As ever, the weather forecast will play a part in deciding eventual ticket sales and Headingley officials will be encouraged to see that all five days are, at this moment, tipped to be dry.

Last season, the entire first day was lost to rain before England went on to claim a convincing victory and seal a 2-0 series win over the Kiwis with Root hitting a memorable century on his home ground.

Tickets for the Sri Lanka Test will, subject to demand, be available on the day at Headingley.

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