Ali on what might be the Brendon McCullum effect.
In the mould of his new England head coach Brendon McCullum, Ben Stokes purred to 82 at The Riverside for Durham. The first 50 came with relative restraint but two huge sixes followed, swept on one knee as the floodlights came on. Before, though, he could quite reach for the accelerator, he was done by the new ball. There was time before stumps for Matty Potts to take two Glamorgan wickets in what is becoming a fruitful season.
Keaton Jennings’s third consecutive Roses century, and another from Steven Croft, helped Lancashire dominate the first day at Headingley. With a good fistful of members dotted around the ground, be-fleeced and glad to see old friends, Jennings continued where he’d left off at Old Trafford last week. So precise in his movements, he bats like a man who not only irons the guest bed-linen but leaves fresh cut flowers on the side-table.
After being marooned on 99 for 13 balls, Jennings reached his century with a tuck for two, before carefully taking off his helmet and beaming. Croft also toyed hungrily with a tired looking Yorkshire attack, on a flattish pitch, where the fielders let four catches slip through their fingers. A chilly morning wind had left Joe Root fielding with a hand-warmer tucked into the back of his trousers, and Josh Bohannon missed out a chance to impress watching England selector James Taylor.
Jennings’s old Lancashire opening partner, Haseeb Hameed, was given a warm reception at Lord’s after scoring his first century of the season for Nottinghamshire at one of his happiest hunting grounds. Hameed and Steven Mullaney (92 not out) rattled along to 117 for the fifth wicket. Middlesex had to do without Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is returning to Pakistan early to prepare for the white-ball series against West Indies.
Warwickshire were carted round the park by Northamptonshire’s openers Ricardo Vasconcelos and Will Young, who scored 290 between them at Edgbaston. A depleted Warwickshire attack, missing Chris Woakes, Ollie Stone and Liam Norwell, could do nothing much but keep plugging away until Vasconcelos was lbw for 156 after tea, and Young followed for 134.
Runs, runs and more runs for Division One leaders Surrey against Kent, with 96 from Ollie Pope, a quickfire 76 from Ryan Patel and an unbeaten 86 by Ben Foakes. It was hard to know who was more unimpressed, Darren Stevens, after being pummelled repeatedly for four, or Surrey’s players with the quality of the flat whites they purchased from the coffee outlet.
Tom Lammonby and Matt Renshaw put on a lively 172 together in the West Country derby. James Hildreth and Tom Abell followed up with fifties of their own, to put Somerset in a sprightly position against Gloucestershire after being put in. Zak Chappell, on loan from Nottinghamshire, pocketed two for 49.
Elsewhere, Jack Haynes made a second consecutive hundred for Worcestershire at Derbyshire, while Leicestershire bucked the trend by being dismissed for 210 by Sussex, despite Ollie Robinson only bowling one over before succumbing to food poisoning.
And a huge, belated welcome to anyone who is new here today, was yesterday, or has fallen upon it at all this season. I should probably give a brief explanation of the weird workings of the county blog. It is a bit of a one woman/man band. Whoever is helming for the day tries to keep the blog updated with interesting things round the grounds, but sometimes has to intersperse that with other bits of work and also after tea has to write up the round-up report for the paper, so largely disappears. We love getting emails , keeping us informed, telling us stuff we’ve missed, and the BTL section is really friendly, and often drifts off into non-cricket talk, so please do throw yourself in. I’m on firstname.lastname@example.org or @tjaldred (but I tend not to look at that as much). Er, that’s it!
Headingley: Yorkshire v Lancashire 288-3
Bristol: Gloucestershire v Somerset 319-4
Beckenham: Kent v Surrey 318-4
Edgbaston: Warwickshire v Northamptonshire 372-4
Derby: Derbyshire v Worcestershire 326-5
The Riverside: Durham 311 v Glamorgan 31-2
Grace Road: Leicestershire 210 v Sussex 39-1
Lord’s: Middlesex v Notts 329-5
Good morning! It’s blustery in Leeds today, the wind propelling me into a small but perfectly formed coffee shop on the Otley Road that sold cinnamon buns.
Yesterday was a(nother) day for batting and batting and batting again. Runs everywhere and barely a wicket to drop – except for poor old Leicestershire, who were scurried out by Sussex’s young bairns. And at the Riverside – where Durham were rescued by Ben Stokes’s high jinks. Hundreds for Jennings, for Croft, for Hameed, for Haynes, for Vasconcelos, for Young – and more, you’d think, to come today.
Are we bored of the run glut yet?