PAUL Collingwood quickly had cause to regret asking Yorkshire to bat first on a sunny morning at Headingley as the score rattled along to 145 without loss at lunch.
The decision was all the more surprising in view of Yorkshire scoring 589 for eight when batting first at Chester-le-Street this season. That took them until after tea on the second day, but at this morning’s rate they will surpass that total early tomorrow.
Adam Lyth reached 67 and Alex Lees 66, both driving with increasing assurance after surviving early scares.
Things were looking desperate for Durham when, with the score on 106 after 21 overs they brought on Scott Borthwick, who didn’t bowl at all in the last championship match at home to Sussex.
The leg-spinner got away with three bad balls in his second over as two full tosses produced only singles and a long hop pulled on to the helmet of Keaton Jennings, who had already taken a blow on the knee at short leg.
In his next over Lees drove a full toss for six shortly after slicing a drive off Paul Coughlin in the air just out of gully’s reach to reach 50 off 67 balls, four faster than Lyth.
Durham decided against gambling on the fitness of Graham Onions, but Mark Wood returned to take the place of Ben Stokes.
An eventful first over from Chris Rushworth cost 13, starting with four leg byes. Lees tried to withdraw his bat and edged through the slips for four then off-drove another boundary.
In Rushworth’s second over Lees, on 11, survived what looked a very good shout for lbw, while Lyth had still to score when he had a similar scare against John Hastings.
The Australian’s first four overs cost only seven runs, but he was left on for four more, which went for 29.
In his fifth over Lyth, on seven, failed to connect with a drive then chipped a four to mid-wicket and edged two more boundaries.
From that point the bat dominated, except when Wood found some life in the pitch to beat Lyth twice on 46.