YORKSHIRE’s Adam Lyth appeared to be “sawn off” by umpire Neil Bainton five runs short of his first-ever century at Headingley Carnegie, but the home side recovered from that controversial moment to boost their promotion claims against lowly Glamorgan.
Lyth, the 24-year-old left-hander, had played beautifully to reach 95 and help Yorkshire to 190-2 in reply to the visitors’ first innings 272 when he was contentiously sent packing by the Romford-born official.
John Glover, a 23-year-old pace bowler playing only his 17th first-class match, delivered a full-length ball from the Rugby Stand end which Lyth – whose five first-class hundreds have all come on Yorkshire’s travels – attempted to hit to leg.
There was a puff of dust, a strong suspicion of an inside edge and a clearly frustrated batsman on his way back to the pavilion when Bainton raised the dreaded finger.
The episode took the wind out of Yorkshire’s sails after they had been progressing serenely in the afternoon sunshine.
Lyth and Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire captain, had apparent mastery of a Glamorgan attack shorn for much of the day of leading wicket-taker Huw Waters, who damaged an ankle when he slid into advertising hoardings in front of the North-East Stand when Gale struck Glover to the mid-wicket boundary.
But five overs after Lyth’s dismissal, Gale was bowled for 55 by Graham Wagg and although Gary Ballance and Anthony McGrath added 61 for the fifth-wicket, Yorkshire were indebted to a ninth-wicket stand of 54 between Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Patterson to help forge a first-innings advantage of 72.
Prior to that, four wickets had fallen for 27 runs in eight overs as Glamorgan improbably clawed themselves back into the contest, but the second day ended with Yorkshire in control and Patterson impressing in his main guise as wicket-taker as he struck twice in two balls to leave the visitors 27-2, 45 behind.
Jason Gillespie, Yorkshire’s first-team coach, pronounced himself satisfied with his team’s efforts although he was naturally disappointed on Lyth’s behalf.
“Lythy felt he got a touch on the ball, but these things happen in cricket,” said Gillespie.
“I’ve always been a big believer in the fact that things even themselves out over the course of a long season and you have to respect the umpire’s decision whether you feel he is correct or incorrect, and Lythy did that.
“Glamorgan made us work very hard but it was an important ninth-wicket partnership between Patto and Ryan and then those two wickets at the end gave us the day really.
“Having two of their batters back in the shed and Glamorgan still 50 runs shy of us is a good position to be in, but we have to continue to bowl well because they’ve already shown they’ve got some really good batsmen.”
Yorkshire began the day on 20-0, with Lyth on five and Joe Root nine.
Root – watched once more by England selector James Whitaker – won the inaugural LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player Award yesterday but he was unable to celebrate with a big score, falling lbw to Wagg for 14 to a ball that appeared to keep a touch low.
Yorkshire lost their second wicket on 70 in the 22nd over when Phil Jaques shouldered arms to a delivery from Jim Allenby which trapped him in front, but Lyth and Gale showed their class with a number of commanding strokes.
Lyth’s cover-driving was typically impressive (is there a more attractive batsman to watch when in full cry?), while Gale’s second Championship half-century of the summer was similarly pleasing on the eye.
Ballance chipped in with 26 before being bowled by Jim Allenby, who removed Andrew Hodd on the stroke of tea when the wicketkeeper edged to Stewart Walters at second slip.
Yorkshire looked in danger of wasting their advantage when they lost Azeem Rafiq straight after the break, caught behind off Glover, followed by Anthony McGrath, lbw to the same bowler trying to whip to leg.
But Patterson and Sidebottom lifted the home side from 286-8 with some typical tail-end swishing along with a wagon-load of determination.
Patterson was dropped on 12 at second slip by Walters off Glover and had reached 22 when he was bowled by Allenby, who returned Glamorgan’s best figures of 4-61.
Yorkshire were eventually ejected for 344 when Sidebottom was caught behind off Wagg for 35, having faced 47 balls and struck six fours.
The home team ended the day with a flourish when Patterson had Nick James brilliantly caught by Hodd, diving to his left, and nightwatchman Glover smartly snaffled high at second slip by Lyth.
Yorkshire have dispensed with the services of match day announcer Tony Loffill.
A club spokesman said Yorkshire want to “ramp-up” their match announcements following grumbles from members.