Lancashire and England are sweating on the fitness of Jimmy Anderson after he pulled up with a groin injury early in the Roses match at Emirates Old Trafford.
Anderson had helped the hosts make an excellent start to this Specsavers County Championship fixture with a catch at third slip and the wicket of Alex Lees as the White Rose slipped to nine for two inside five overs.
But the 34-year-old seamer then had to leave the field clutching his right groin midway through his sixth over and he did not return as Yorkshire closed on 251-6 from 96 overs.
Lancashire coach Glen Chapple revealed that Anderson will be assessed on Saturday and said: “Jimmy’s got a tight groin. He felt some pain and came off with it.
“He’s had ice on it all afternoon and I think he will be assessed in the morning.
“Fingers crossed he won’t be feeling it, but we’ll have to see.
“He walked off alright, but we’ll see how he is tomorrow. If he’s still feeling it, he will probably need a scan.”
England’s all-time leading wicket-taker is not due to be back in action for his country until the first Investec Test against South Africa at Lord’s on July 6.
Anderson had been scheduled to play in Lancashire’s next four championship matches before joining England for the start of the Test summer
The immediate concern was Lancashire’s as they had to make do with two specialist seamers and two specialist spinners for the rest of the day.
But Ryan McLaren and Stephen Parry ensured they did not miss Anderson too badly by sharing three wickets.
Yorkshire’s in-form captain Gary Ballance was again the standout performer with 74, taking his tally of 50-plus scores this season to a remarkable 10 from 15 innings.
Jack Leaning also hit an unbeaten 54 from 175 balls and Andrew Hodd was not out on 41 at stumps.
Ballance hit 11 fours in his 163-ball knock and has now scored 1,101 runs in all cricket this season.
Yorkshire elected to bat upon winning the toss but they were under the cosh quickly against a Lancashire side also missing seamer Kyle Jarvis with a broken thumb and all-rounder Jordan Clark with a back problem.
Adam Lyth edged Tom Bailey to Anderson at third slip in the fourth over and the England paceman then bowled Lees as he offered no stroke to an in-swinger in the next, meaning Yorkshire had lost their first two wickets in three balls.
Ballance found an ally in Australian overseas batsman Peter Handscomb as they began the recovery against a tidy Lancashire attack.
They shared 81 inside 33 overs either side of lunch for the third wicket.
Ballance reached 50 off 107 balls just before the lunch interval but he lost Handscomb shortly afterwards as he was trapped lbw by McLaren for 29 as the score fell to 90-3 in the 37th over.
Ballance was next to go when he miscued a widish Bailey delivery to mid-off as the partnership with Leaning fell two short of 50 to leave Yorkshire at 138-4.
Leaning and Tim Bresnan both hit the left-arm spin of Simon Kerrigan down the ground for sixes as the visitors reached tea at 155-4. McLaren gained further reward for his endeavour shortly after tea when, with 159 on the board for Yorkshire in the 67th over, he bowled Bresnan with one that kept low and nipped back.
Azeem Rafiq was put down on one by Liam Livingstone at slip in McLaren’s next over but he pulled Parry to mid-wicket as Yorkshire fell to 178-6.
With Leaning approaching his first half century of the season in either the Championship or the Royal London Cup, Lancashire delayed taking the second new ball until the 86th over.
Unfortunately for them, the tactic did not work as Leaning and Hodd enjoyed Yorkshire’s best period of the day.
Leaning reached 50 off 146 balls with a pulled six off Bailey, and Hodd will hope to join him in the morning as they shared an unbroken partnership of 73.