Centurions Andrew Gale and Jack Leaning played Yorkshire into a strong position against Nottinghamshire with an unbroken record fourth-wicket stand against their opponents of 251 on day two at Headingley.
The reigning LV= County Champions looked to be on shaky ground when a couple of wickets for England fast bowler Stuart Broad helped reduce them to 51-3 off 21 overs but by the close Yorkshire had recovered to 302-3 to hold a first-innings lead of 78.
Gale, out of touch for much of the season, suddenly found his most fluent form in making 144 while Leaning, the county’s top run-scorer so far, looked just as assured as ever in compiling 107.
The start of Yorkshire’s reply to their opponents’ 224 could hardly have been more inauspicious, however, as Broad’s third ball of the innings thumped into the pads of his England colleague Adam Lyth and pinned him lbw.
Gary Ballance, another of Yorkshire’s Test players, has also struggled during the first half of the campaign and he failed once again, this time turning a ball from Ben Hilfenhaus straight into the hands of Samit Patel who was lurking at leg gully.
Alex Lees struggled to 15 from 21 overs before Broad returned to send his middle stump spinning out of the ground but as the pitch eased and the weather brightened, Gale and Leaning began to enjoy themselves with barely a false stroke between them.
Gale said of his innings: “I felt in good touch from the word go and I have felt good for the last month without making a good score. I seem to do better when the chips are down, as they were at 52 for three, and a great partnership with Jack Leaning has put us in command.
“Yesterday was a typical Headingley day but when the sun comes out it makes it a lot easier, although it is still a pitch which keeps you honest and the key tomorrow is to get through the first few overs with the new ball. I want to go on for a double-century.
“Jack is so calm for a 21-year-old and he is the whole package now. He was up against two international bowlers today who were trying to bowl him out and he was in no trouble at all.”