Adam Lyth’s outstanding 182 not out ensured Yorkshire were well on top at the end of the second day of the LV= Division One Roses match against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford.
When Lyth trooped off the ground he had faced 318 balls, hitting 17 fours and a six, and taken his side to 396-5 – a lead of 118.
Helped by a half century by Jonny Bairstow and an unbeaten 44 from Adil Rashid, Lyth’s effort had put Yorkshire in a position from which they are well placed to push for the victory that would boost their attempt to win the championship for the first time since 2001.
In an absorbing morning session, Yorkshire added 80 runs in 31 overs for the loss of Alex Lees, who was trapped lbw on the crease by Tom Bailey for 40, having added only four to his overnight score.
That wicket fell in the seventh over of the day but Lyth and Kane Williamson took their side safely to lunch, Lyth passing 6,000 first-class runs when he got to 48 and reaching his fifty off 121 balls. Williamson was the more fluent of the pair, hitting eight fours in his 42 not out.
Lancashire’s bowlers stuck to their task well and gave away few easy runs, although Simon Kerrigan conceded 19 off his three overs from the Pavilion End.
Williamson was dismissed for 46 five overs after the resumption when he came down the wicket to Stephen Parry but failed to make contact with his leg-side push and Alex Davies completed a fine stumping.
Four overs later visiting captain Andrew Gale was out for six when he pulled Parry straight to Usman Khawaja at mid-wicket, and, with Yorkshire on 163-3, Lancashire’s players glimpsed a way back into the game.
The arrival of Bairstow soon saw that door slammed in the home team’s face, though. The wicketkeeper-batsman made 60 off 64 balls and put on 103 in only 19 overs with Lyth.
When Bairstow was bowled making room to drive Steven Croft though the off side, Yorkshire were only 12 runs in arrears and the Lancashire attack had been run ragged.
By the time Bairstow was out, Lyth had notched his fifth championship century of the season off 213 balls when he pulled Croft for four and he later reached 150 off 276 balls with a pulled six off Tom Bailey.
Although Jack Leaning was lbw to Kerrigan for a single, Rashid joined Lyth in an unbroken stand of 115 for the sixth wicket and Yorkshire will want to extend that advantage before attempting to ram home their superiority in the second half of this match.
Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie was quick to praise Lyth at the close of play.
“This is one of Adam’s best knocks, certainly from what I’ve seen,” the Australian said. “I think what he’s shown this year is that he’s been able to adapt to different situations and conditions and play accordingly.
“We’ve played on some fast and bouncy tracks, ones that have seamed around a lot and some low and slower wickets. He got some runs down at Arundel on a slow and low wicket.
“What he’s doing really well is adapting his game to score in all conditions. He’s having a wonderful summer.
“If England’s selectors come knocking, he won’t let them down.
“I think he’s good enough. He’s putting performances on the board, and you can’t be ignored forever.”
Lancashire slow left-armer Stephen Parry admitted his team had fallen short and had plenty of hard work ahead.
“We’ve had a tough day,” he said.
“We kept things really tight and then Jonny came in and played a really explosive knock. We’ve gone about our business well but we’re a little bit short at the moment.
“We wanted to keep them to less than three runs an over and we did do, but then fair play to Jonny, he came in and played a good innings.
“We were hoping we could get a couple of wickets with the second new ball but we still have quite a lot of work to do.
“And whatever we do, we then have to match them with the bat.”