YORKSHIRE have seized the early initiative in their opening LV= County Championship match against Somerset after Sunday's commanding batting display at Taunton underpinned by Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance and Adil Rashid.
After being invited to bat first, Yorkshire were indebted to scores of 85 for Lyth, 77 for Ballance and 84 not out for Rashid as they reached 342-5 from 96 overs at close on day one.
Of course there were a few alarms, but not as many as there should have been.
Somerset dropped three obvious catches, two of them by South African Test batsman Alviro Petersen at third slip. Alex Lees was dropped on one, Lyth on 70 and Rashid on 63.
A largely blunt Somerset attack let the visitors get off to a flyer at 69-0 after 14 overs and rarely looked like getting on top aside from stages during the afternoon where the flow of the game could have changed.
At 179-4 when Lyth fell, for example, Somerset could have taken control with another couple of wickets quickly.
But that was when Ballance and Rashid shared the highest partnership of the day, with their 115 inside 32 overs for the fifth wicket taking Yorkshire to the cusp of 300.
“We obviously lost the toss and got put in, and we’re happy with that at the end of the day - 342-5 is a commanding position,” said Lyth, who saw Somerset concede a total of 55 boundaries.
“It’s a good pitch, but I don’t think they bowled particularly well. It seamed when they got it in the right area.
“There was a period of play when me and Gary were out there when they bowled quite a few maidens on the trot. We played and missed quite a lot. Hopefully when we bowl, we can put it in a better area than they did.”
Lyth shared an aggressive 69 for the first wicket with opener Lees, who made 34, 62 for the third with captain Andrew Gale (24) and 46 for the fourth with Ballance.
Lyth and Ballance will be naturally disappointed not to have made centuries.
Lyth fell to a stunning one-handed catch by Lewis Gregory at mid-wicket as he fiercely pulled a Craig Overton long-hop during the afternoon before Ballance was trapped lbw by Gregory with the second new ball after tea, leaving the score at 294-5.
Lyth has now scored 646 runs in eleven Championship innings at Taunton.
“I’d have taken that at the start of the day, but the way I batted I’d have liked three figures,” added Lyth.
“It was a pretty fantastic catch, and I absolutely smoked it. But that’s cricket. If you hit the ball in the air, there’s obviously a chance of getting out. Unfortunately for me, it was a good catch.”
Somerset, for whom Craig Meschede took three wickets, looked like a side who were at the end of their season rather than the start.
Rashid could record his third hundred in three Championship matches against Somerset having scored two in last year’s fixtures. He will resume on Monday morning with Andrew Hodd, who is 22 not out.
New Zealander Kane Williamson was the only batsman not to make it into double figures on Sunday as he fell for a six-ball duck.
At Taunton. Somerset Won Toss
Yorkshire First Innings Close
A Lyth c Gregory b Overton ................85
A Z Lees b Meschede ........................34
K S Williamson c Jones b Meschede ... 0
A W Gale lbw b Meschede ..................24
G S Ballance lbw b Gregory ................77
A U Rashid not out ............................84
A J Hodd not out ...............................22
Extras (lb7 w1 nb8 pens 0).....16
Total 5 wkts (96 overs) .........342
Fall: 1-69 2-71 3-133 4-179 5-294
To Bat: L E Plunkett, R J Sidebottom, S A
Patterson, J A Brooks.
Bowling: Thomas 20-4-58-0. Gregory 22-
5-81-1. Meschede 22-5-82-3. Overton 18-
3-61-1. Myburgh 14-0-53-0.