Opening duo Adam Lyth and Will Fraine give Yorkshire sniff of overdue seaside win over Surrey
THE LAST time that a pair of Yorkshire opening batsmen shared two century partnerships in a County Championship match was 31 years ago.
That is a measure of how well Adam Lyth and Will Fraine have played in this game.
Although Lyth and Fraine narrowly failed to emulate the achievement of Martyn Moxon and Ashley Metcalfe, who compiled 134 and 185 against Middlesex at Headingley in 1988, they could not have come much closer here, adding 94 to the 116 they amassed during the first innings.
It has laid the platform for a victory push that would put Yorkshire very much in the thick of the title race with games to come against the top two teams – Somerset and Essex – during the next fortnight.
First things first, Yorkshire must overcome a Surrey side still harbouring hopes of defending their crown.
It is a tall order; the visitors only achieved their first win of the season last week to conclude the halfway stage of the Championship programme.
There is still plenty of cricket to be played, therefore, with Hampshire also challenging hard.
But if there is an omen to be gained from this match at North Marine Road, positive or otherwise, it is that the champions have won at Scarborough in each of the last six seasons, a remarkable statistic.
Yorkshire have not won a Championship game here for almost three years, having lost on their last four visits and five times out of six.
They do like to be beside the seaside but they do not, as it were; their favourite venue has become something of an unhappy hunting ground.
But after Yorkshire started day three with a first innings deficit of 35 (327 playing 362), Lyth and Fraine turned it into an advantage of 59 before they were separated five overs before lunch in Yorkshire’s second innings.
Come day’s end, the hosts had advanced to 303-9, a lead of 268.
Yorkshire’s position did not look so favourable when Tuesday morning dawned, particularly as the grey skies looked as if they might help the bowlers.
It was cooler than of late, although that did not deter the 2,820 who flocked to the famous old venue, where a new five-year deal to stage Championship cricket is thought to be in the pipeline.
The early exchanges reflected the tight situation, with Lyth and Fraine watchful against Sam Curran and Morne Morkel.
But just like the experienced Lyth, the young Fraine is capable of opening his shoulders as well as orthodox strokeplay, as evidenced when he struck two sixes off Jordan Clark: one pulled over backward square-leg, the other hammered over point.
The six over backward square-leg sailed over the wooden seats of the Popular Bank and into the mobile Yorkshire Cricket Museum where, fortunately, it did not send anyone browsing its interior into the annals of Yorkshire’s cricketing deceased.
There is a fine line between attack and defence for an opening batsman, and after a couple of close shaves when the ball was pitched up, something which Surrey perhaps did not do often enough, Fraine fell to a catch in the gully as he drove at Rikki Clarke.
Earlier, Fraine had been dropped off the same bowler by wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, diving to his right; nevertheless, Fraine’s 43 was a good follow-up to his first innings hundred.
Lyth, too, sometimes mistakes the fine line between attack and defence, but the attacking skill makes him the player that he is.
After Gary Ballance was lbw to Curran to complete a pair of 23s, Lyth fell in frustrating style, caught behind flashing a drive at Clarke after so much good work.
Lyth’s 68 followed his first innings 55 and was his sixth half-century in 15 Championship innings this year; the lack of a hundred, however, will clearly frustrate him.
Jack Leaning completed a pair when he was pinned by Clarke, which left Yorkshire 168-4 – effectively 133-4. One or two loud appeals followed, not all of them warranted, the crowd joining in the fun by appealing even when the ball made resounding contact with the bat.
No one appealed louder than the Bradford-born Gareth Batty, who seemed to revel in the banter, and who won a stumping decision when Kohler-Cadmore (42) overbalanced, ending a fourth-wicket stand of 57 in 26 overs with Tattersall.
Tattersall fell to the second new ball, caught at first slip off Curran, while Willey (43) and Keshav Maharaj went to catches at second slip before Steve Patterson picked out deep point.