Ballance and Rashid help champions to get on top

Gary Ballance
Gary Ballance
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Half-centuries from Gary Ballance and Adil Rashid helped Yorkshire to 241-7 on a rain-hit day one of their LV= County Championship Division One clash with Sussex at Headingley.

The visitors’ bowling was spearheaded by Steve Magoffin, who claimed the wickets of skipper Andrew Gale and Jonny Bairstow after lunch to leave the White Rose wobbling on 108-4.

Ballance top-scored with 55 for the county champions but once he departed, a partnership of 72 between Jack Leaning (36) and Rashid (53) helped thwart Sussex, who need a draw to be sure of avoiding relegation.

Before the match began, both teams lined-up in memory of former Yorkshire and England captain Brian Close, who died last week, aged 84.

After a minute’s silence there was standing applause from players and spectators alike.

Put in to bat, Yorkshire lost a wicket in the third over when Adam Lyth was lbw to Chris Jordan, who would have struck again if Gary Ballance, on 11, had not got away with an edge which went to the left at third slip of Ed Joyce who appeared slow to react.

The ball shot for four to take Ballance to 7,000 first class runs.

As has happened previously this season, Alex Lees got out when appearing well set.

He had reached 29 when he was lbw pushing at Lewis Hatchett. Ballance and Gale then settled in comfortably, Ballance twice off-driving Jordan to the boundary and Gale hitting consecutive balls off the same bowler for four to take Yorkshire to their lunchtime score of 106-2.

But, without addition, Gale chopped Magoffin onto his stumps for 31 and the in-form Bairstow failed to get going, his inside edge off Magoffin being taken by wicketkeeper Ben Brown.

Hatchett had supported Magoffin well during this difficult period for Yorkshire and although Ballance completed a fluent half-century he was out in between two shower breaks, cutting Chris Liddle straight into the hands of Joyce at backward point for 55 from 119 balls with eight fours.

Only eight balls were possible after an early tea before a third stoppage at 153-5 and on the resumption 28.4 overs remained with 18 taken out of the day’s ration.

Yorkshire recovered their poise through a positive sixth wicket stand between Leaning and Rashid with the leg-spinner doing the lion’s share of the scoring.

He contributed 38 to their first 53 runs together, many of them coming from wristy cuts, and at 200-5 Yorkshire had collected the first of the two points they need to set a record for the number of points amassed in a season since the introduction of a two-division championship.

Hatchett ended the partnership on 72 with a good ball which left Leaning late and was caught by Jordan at first slip to make it 212-6.

But Rashid stayed in control and he whipped Hatchett through midwicket to complete his 50 from 80 balls with seven boundaries.

England spinner Rashid departed in the penultimate over from Liddle, the ball moving just enough to find the edge of a defensive bat for Brown to take the catch.

LV Championship Division 1: Headingley Carnegie: Yorkshire 241-7 (G S Ballance 55, A U Rashid 53) v Sussex.