One spectator confided that he was wearing his face mask just to keep the gusts out.
“I’m not worried about catching t’virus,” he said. “I’m only worried about catching a cold!”
Spectators’ hats and caps flew away, evading capture on the wind-trapped concourses, while advertising hoardings wobbled and swayed, threatening to topple at any moment.
Up above, clouds chased each other in a fast-moving skyscrape, as though a meteorological grand prix was taking place above the ground.
The action below was rather more sedate, Lancashire remaining in pole position at the game’s halfway stage, the visitors declaring on 566-9 – Lancashire’s highest ever total against Yorkshire – before the hosts ended day two on 53-2.
Keaton Jennings, who batted throughout the first day for an unbeaten 150, batted on until 50 minutes after lunch for a career-best 238, made from 408 balls with 32 fours – the highest ever individual score for Lancashire in a Roses match, beating the 225 of Graham Lloyd in a first-class friendly at Headingley in 1997, and Lancashire’s Championship record against the White Rose of 206 by Stuart Law at Headingley in 2007.
“I wasn’t aware it was a record until (team-mate) George Balderson told me about an hour later,” said Jennings, for whom this was a third successive three-figure innings in Roses cricket.
“It’s fantastic, but I think records are there to be broken and it’s the way it goes sometimes.
“Any day you get a career-best it’s a really good day, but from a team point of view we’re in a great position to try and win a Roses clash.
“It’s been a long time since we won here (2011), and we’ve put ourselves in a great position to try and do that.”
Had Jennings managed another 15 runs, he would have had the Roses record outright – still the 252 of Yorkshire’s Darren Lehmann at Headingley in 2001, the innings which the Australian always regarded as his best for the club.
If that innings was without blemish until Lehmann was dismissed (according to Wisden, he “never offered a chance, and at times toyed with the bowling”), the same could not quite be said of Jennings’s performance for all its aplomb.
The tall left-hander was dropped four times – three times on day one, and once on Friday when a diving Harry Brook put down a difficult opportunity in the gully off Steve Patterson when he had 167.
Otherwise, Jennings played beautifully, cutting with great artistry and taking advantage of a slow and flat pitch and a depleted bowling attack, one which has had plenty of work in the season’s early weeks and which could be forgiven if it felt somewhat heavy-legged.
Jennings would doubtless have had the record outright but for a disastrous misjudgement by Phil Salt, his fifth-wicket partner, who called him for a single after pushing Dom Bess to mid-on only to change his mind and leave Jennings stranded halfway up the pitch as Jordan Thompson threw in to the bowler.
Sold down the river, Jennings turned back in anguish to look at his partner, who stood holding his bat against his head with both hands in a prolonged and public gesture of guilt.
Jennings received a sympathetic hand as he left the field, the Yorkshire crowd applauding with plenty of gusto.
It was conceivable, however, that there was also an element of trying to keep their hands warm.
The day began with another milestone when Jennings’s overnight partner, captain Dane Vilas, drove the sixth ball of the day to the cover boundary off Thompson to reach 10,000 first-class runs on his 181st appearance.
Vilas, 13 overnight, was the chief aggressor, taking Haris Rauf for three fours and a six in an over that disappeared for 19, the six – hooked far over the North-East Stand – taking him to an 81-ball half-century.
Vilas lofted another six straight off Bess and skied his next ball for four, although Bess got him finally for 82, leg-before as he tried to sweep.
That first breakthrough of the day, not long after lunch, ended a third-wicket stand of 177 inside 45 overs between Jennings and Vilas, the former going to his double hundred from 361 balls with 26 fours, a milestone celebrated with a punch of the air.
Jennings’s previous career-best of 221 not out was also against Yorkshire, for Durham at Chester-le-Street in 2016, and he also has a second-team double century against the White Rose.
Bess nipped in with the wickets of Balderson leg-before and Salt caught at slip to finish with 3-151 from 39 overs, Tom Loten taking the first two scalps of his first-class career when he sent back Tom Bailey with an instinctive one-handed return catch and then had Luke Wood pouched at deep backward-square.
Lancashire’s total beat their previous best against Yorkshire of 537 at Old Trafford in 2005 and was the third-highest ever recorded against Yorkshire at Headingley, behind Surrey’s 634-5 declared in 2013 and Somerset’s 630 in 1901.
When Yorkshire replied, Adam Lyth took two offside boundaries off James Anderson’s first over before fatally shouldering arms to Bailey.
George Hill and Dawid Malan lifted the score to 48 before Malan, who went into the game on the back of five successive scores of 50-plus, clipped Balderson to mid-wicket, where a diving Matt Parkinson took a good catch.
Hill and Loten survived to stumps, by which time the wind had dropped and the temperature a little further, the weather-beaten crowd having thinned out as well.