Cricket: Root sets captaincy record then is bowled for a duck

Joe Root
Joe Root
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England hopeful Joe Root became Yorkshire’s youngest captain but was out for a duck on his return from injury as his side was dismissed for 178 by Middlesex on day one of the LV= County Championship match at Lord’s.

The bowlers dominated as Root was one of several under-performing batsmen for the Tykes before Middlesex lost quick wickets to finish the day 64-3.

Root was dropped from the England Test side at the end of a dismal winter in Australia and then broke his thumb in a one-day international against the West Indies in March.

Scoring 61 for Yorkshire’s second string in midweek was enough to earn the 23-year-old both a recall and the captaincy as regular skipper Andrew Gale dropped himself to make way.

Root was unable to stake his claim for Peter Moores’ new-look England side, however, as fellow hopeful Steven Finn trapped the right-hander lbw without scoring.

Yorkshire started the match second in the Division One table but a flurry of wickets after lunch helped Middlesex take the advantage ahead of day two.

The hosts opted to field and just 17 balls in, it looked a wise decision as Tim Murtagh (3-48) drew an inside edge from Alex Lees (two) which flew straight into the hands of keeper John Simpson. Adam Lyth hit a confident 34 before tickling a ball down the leg side, drawing an excellent catch from Simpson off the bowling of Finn (4-50).

Finn has enjoyed a strong revival since his morale-sapping experience with England in Australia and has now taken 19 wickets so far this season.

Lyth’s dismissal left Yorkshire 55-2 as Root came to the crease and the new man was nearly dismissed first ball as Finn’s quick delivery sprung up onto his pads.

Root lasted just four more deliveries as Finn struck him square in front of the stumps.

Middlesex seized the initiative five minutes before lunch when James Harris (3-42) lured Kane Williamson into a rare flash outside off stump and Ollie Rayner took an excellent catch at second slip to dismiss the Kiwi for 30.

At 74-4, Gary Ballance and Adil Rashid temporarily steadied matters after the interval but Middlesex soon continued their charge with three quick wickets.

Rashid (six) nicked Murtagh’s wide delivery into the hands of Rayner before Andrew Hodd was out for five after his back-foot drive was snaffled at gully by Sam Robson. Ballance has hit three centuries and two fifties in his last six Championship innings but the left-hander was caught by Robson for 20 as the home side took command at 121-7.

Liam Plunkett and Ryan Sidebottom stemmed the tide with some intelligent batting in a stand of 48 but Finn finally broke the partnership when the latter edged to Robson. Steven Patterson (two) and Jack Brooks (one) were then bowled by Finn and Murtagh respectively as Yorkshire posted a disappointing total, though Plunkett was exempt from blame as he was left unbeaten on 56.

The away side needed a fast start in the field and they got it when Brooks continued his excellent early-season form by dismissing home captain Chris Rogers (one) and England hopeful Robson (seven) with only 20 runs on the board.

Dawid Malan hit seven fours on his way to a useful 31 but the left-hander was eventually bowled by a superb delivery from Sidebottom with Middlesex pegged back to 57-3.

Eoin Morgan was left unbeaten on 24 while Neil Dexter was yet to get off the mark when bad light stopped play with the home side on 64.

England assistant coach Paul Farbrace. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

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