FAST bowler Jack Brooks scored his maiden century yesterday but Shivnarine Chanderpauls’ 129th career ton left the Roses game at Old Trafford destined to finish as a draw.
Brooks, whose previous career best was 53, took just 11 balls to score the six runs he needed on day three to spark wild, and disbelieving, celebrations on the Yorkshire balcony as the White Rose declared their first innings on 448-8.
However back to bowling duties, Brooks was unable to prevent West Indies stalwart Chanderpaul amassing a 75th first-class century as Lancashire finished on 264-6, 184 runs behind.
With the Red Rose’s follow-on mark just 34 runs away, a draw seems the likeliest of outcomes in today’s final day. But Yorkshire will be in search of quick wickets to spark thoughts of another unlikely outcome ahead of the reverse four-day match next week at Headingley.
“We need to go bang, bang, bang in the morning,” said Brooks. “We’ve got an end to open up. Funny things can happen.”
The seam bowler’s unexpected contribution had put Yorkshire firmly in control on day two as he shared the highest ninth-wicket partnership in Roses history with fellow centurion Jack Leaning.
Leaning anchored an innings that had made a desperate start at 9/2 and compiled a first century of 2017 to finish day two on 118.
However, he was unable to add to his overnight tally as miscued a hook shot into the hands of Ryan McLaren at deep square leg on the fifth ball of day three.
It was a tepid end to a defiant innings from the 23-year-old. Nevertheless, Leaning’s return form is a significant boost for the White Rose given the lack of batting options with England’s one-day matches approaching.
That may not be a worry, though, with the new-found capabilities of seam bowler Brooks – who has missed the first two months of the season through injury.
The last couple of years I have worked hard on my batting. I have a really simple game plan and I know my areas. I didn’t really over think it, I wasn’t nervous.Jack Brooks
You would have forgiven nerves for a man that has previously batted 112 times in the County Championship and come away with a highest total of 53. But Brooks was a figure of calm as he approached the crease.
However, his heart would have been in his mouth as the Lancashire cordon appealed for a catch behind on his first ball of the morning.
That was not to deter him, though, and he patted five singles around to move him to the brink of a memorable milestone.
With Ben Coad surviving a couple of hairy moments at the other end, Brooks eventually got his chance against one-time England Test spinner Simon Kerrigan.
The moment arrived on the first ball of the 144th over. A short dab into the leg side was followed by a roar of astonishment from the Yorkshire balcony.
Arms stretched, Brooks gave a typically exuberant celebration. He dropped his bat, punched the air and cherished the moment with a kiss to the White Rose on his helmet. It was the first century by a Yorkshire No. 9 since Azeem Rafiq against Worcestershire in 2009 and came from 147 balls with seven fours and four sixes thrown into the mix.
A fifth six was added from the first ball of Kerrigan’s next over before Ballance called time on the fun.
“I’m obviously happy, pretty elated,” said Brooks, who finished unbeaten on 109. “The last couple of years I have worked hard on my batting. I have a really simple game plan and I know my areas. I didn’t really over think it, I wasn’t nervous. I slept pretty well just because I was knackered. I just backed my game plan, if it was up, I would whack it.”
Back to what he does best, Brooks wasted little time in starting the White Rose victory pursuit. Haseeb Hameed, the young prodigy bringing excitement to Test match enthusiasts, could not bring his bat down on a zippy Brooks delivery and saw his off-stump poleaxed. Ryan Sidebottom, also back opening the bowling after an injury lay-off, followed up with a ball that darted away from Liam Livingstone to catch the edge of an uncomfortable looking shot and drop into Adam Lyth’s paws at second slip. Tim Bresnan was next to join the act as he removed Lancashire captain Steven Croft for 13 courtesy of an edge to slip. Alex Davies watched the wickets fall as he reached lunch unscathed on 39 alongside Chanderpaul.
But Lancashire’s wicketkeeper came unstuck in his first ball after the interval as he feathered Sidebottom through to Andrew Hodd, attempting to leave outside the off stump.
Chanderpaul, as fidgety yet sturdy as ever, took over the baton of frustration. He was given one reprieve on the way to his 369th career half century – when Brooks shelled a diving catch at mid-off – but otherwise, the 42-year-old made hay with unflustered assurance.
No. 6 Dane Vilas departed on 29 before Chanderpaul built a resolute partnership with Ryan McLaren in the final session.
There was an air of inevitability that the West Indies veteran, who has over 62,000 runs in his career, would reach three figures. And the left-hander brought up the milestone off 184 balls – only for his rearguard to end on 106 as he was bowled round his legs by Ben Coad. McLaren wrapped up the day unbeaten on 63 to leave Yorkshire hoping for a second miracle of the match to secure victory.