THEY say that lightning does not strike twice, but try telling that to Adam Lyth.
Twenty-four hours after scoring a brilliant hundred in the One-Day Cup, the Yorkshire batsman repeated the feat, following his 125 against Northants at Scarborough with a career-best 136 against Lancashire.
It was the highest score by a Yorkshire batsman in one-day cricket at Old Trafford, where Lyth also holds the record for the highest score by a Yorkshire batsman in first-class cricket: 251 in 2014. It helped Yorkshire to 325-7, Lancashire collapsing from 64-2 to 84 all-out in reply, with Yorkshire’s 242-run win beating their previous best by a runs margin in one-day cricket of 205 against Notts at Headingley in 1996, and inflicting Lancashire’s heaviest one-day defeat.
Victory owed much to the brilliant Lyth, and not even Alex Hales, who presently opens for England in Test and one-day cricket, could have played two more dynamic innings than Lyth has served up this week.
The Whitby-born player, who is striving to win back his international place, showed that there is much more to his game than silky cover drives, striking the ball with a savage power that seemed to signal a change of approach.
Lyth has by no means been an automatic selection for Yorkshire in limited-overs cricket, having scored only one hundred in 90 one-day appearances prior to the Northants match, along with two half-centuries in 62 T20 appearances. But if he keeps playing like this, the 28-year-old can become a fixture in all forms, for there is no doubting that he has the full range of shots.
After Alex Lees maintained his 100 per cent record at the toss, winning his eighth in succession, he and Lyth added 65 for the first wicket inside eight overs.
Lyth hit 43 of them having started the match like a house on fire, creaming 27 from the first two overs, including successive leg-side sixes off Nathan Buck.
A third followed when he launched Buck over long-on, with Lees content to play a supporting role before top-edging an attempted pull off Jordan Clark that sailed straight up in the air to be caught by the bowler.
It followed a brief rain break which reduced the game to 47 overs per side and slightly interrupted Lyth’s momentum, just when he had looked on course to beat Liam Plunkett’s record for the fastest one-day fifty for Yorkshire – a 22-ball effort against Leicestershire at Scarborough in 2013. Lyth got to that mark from 28 deliveries – four balls quicker than he had the previous day – and celebrated by launching Steven Croft for six over long-on.
His hundred arrived from 64 balls – his century against Northants came from 60 deliveries – and included a fifth six when Stephen Parry was lofted over long-off.
Lyth did have a slice of luck when he was dropped on 83 by a diving Martin Guptill at backward-point off Saqib Mahmood, and another on 121 when Alviro Petersen could only palm the ball over the cover boundary off Luke Procter.
Moments earlier, Procter had run-out Kane Williamson with a direct hit from cover after Lyth misjudged a single off Clark, ending a stand of 111 in 16 overs to which Williamson added 40.
Lyth lashed Clark for a straight six into the pavilion before falling to a catch at long-off off the leg-spinner Liam Livingstone, his innings lasting 92 balls and including 12 fours and seven sixes.
It left Yorkshire on 218-3 in the 31st over and with the platform to push towards 350-plus.
Lancashire kept a lid on things, however, Livingstone having Gary Ballance caught at short third-man from a top-edged sweep and Adil Rashid taken at mid-wicket. David Willey was bowled charging Parry, and Yorkshire fell to 285-7 when Tim Bresnan was caught behind.
Plunkett and Andrew Hodd added an unbeaten 40 from 23 balls to take Yorkshire to their ninth-highest one-day score and highest against the old enemy.
Left to make a revised target of 327, Lancashire were never in the hunt. Guptill threatened briefly with 45 from 25 before being bowled by Willey, who had dangerman Jos Buttler caught behind for a third-ball duck.
Willey claimed a third wicket when Croft drove his first delivery to Williamson at backward-point, while fellow new-ball bowler Bresnan had Petersen caught behind and Karl Brown taken at mid-off.
Rashid bowled Livingstone, and Karl Carver struck with his first ball when Procter clipped to mid-wicket. Carver bowled Clark and had Parry stumped, Rashid sealing a thumping victory by bowling Buck.