IF ONE was to devise the cricketing equivalent of The Ten Commandments, one of the more prominent injunctions would surely be: Thou shalt not drop a catch presented by Jonny Bairstow.
To do so is to risk the wrath not only of the bowler, one’s team-mates and your club’s supporters, but to negatively influence the outcome of the game, as Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson discovered to his cost.
The England wicketkeeper contributed 77 to a stand of 133 in just 19.3 overs, which halted the home side’s early momentum and ultimately left them needing the highest-ever Roses chase.Chris Waters
For just as the key moment of the opening day of the Roses match was when a catch that should not have been taken was, when Joe Root pulled off an incredible grab at short mid-wicket to remove Keaton Jennings off a full-blooded pull to trigger a Lancashire collapse to 109, so the key moment of day two was when a catch that should have been taken was not.
Parkinson, the 21-year-old leg-spinner, was the guilty man, shelling a low chance at mid-on off Graham Onions when the batsman had 22 and Yorkshire were teetering on 57-3 in their second innings, a lead of 140 having just lost Adam Lyth, Joe Root and Kane Williamson for a combined eight runs.
At that stage there was just a chance, however unlikely, that the hosts could have kept Yorkshire’s lead to comfortable proportions.
As it was Bairstow added another 60 vital runs to top-score with 82 as the visitors got up to 239, setting Lancashire a target of 323 in pursuit of which they had reached 194-6 by stumps, with Jos Buttler’s late departure for 59 – caught trying to sweep Root – having the feel of a fatal blow.
In tandem with Harry Brook, the 19-year-old opener who scored 55, Bairstow changed the momentum of events in a way that only Bairstow can.
The England wicketkeeper contributed 77 to a stand of 133 in just 19.3 overs, which halted the home side’s early momentum and ultimately left them needing the highest-ever Roses chase.
After the manic nature of the first day, which put the “Mad” into “Madchester” as surely as any 1980s musical scene, one sensed that Yorkshire could not bat as poorly in their second innings as they had in their first.
But they were soon in trouble when Lyth was caught behind off a fine delivery from Onions that slanted across him and took the edge.
Root was also caught behind when James Anderson found that probing channel just outside off stump – as was Williamson in trying to withdraw his bat to Onions, which left Yorkshire 21-3, 104 ahead.
But Bairstow was in no mood to miss out and was soon chopping and cutting the ball to the boundary with aplomb.
Considering that he walked into a tense situation, one would hardly have known it as Bairstow proceeded at a strike-rate approaching 200 at one point.
When Bairstow is in such a mood there is nowhere that a bowler can safely bowl, and with Brook playing some handsome strokes at the other end, not least a cover-driven boundary off Onions with a classical high left elbow, Yorkshire’s nerves were swiftly settled.
Bairstow went to fifty from 38 balls with seven fours, and Brook followed him to the landmark from 60 deliveries with eight boundaries.
Brook, who might have been run-out on 51 when he pushed Anderson into the covers only for Alex Davies’s throw to miss, finally fell just before lunch, strangled down the leg-side off Tom Bailey.
Bairstow departed soon after the interval, driving at a wide delivery from Onions that flew to Buttler at backward-point.
After Gary Ballance was the victim of another strangle off Bailey, Tim Bresnan and Steve Patterson added 41 in 11 overs, a useful stand in the context of the game.
The last four wickets fell for 19 as Clark and Parkinson traded dismissals, wicketkeeper Dane Vilas – leading the side in Liam Livingstone’s absence with a broken thumb – finishing with six victims.
Lancashire’s chase began well as Keaton Jennings and Davies added 54 before Davies was pinned by Bresnan.
Hameed got going with a lovely cover-driven four off Bresnan and looked in good touch for a man whose highest first-class score this season was 20.
The former England opener, who made twin hundreds in the corresponding match in 2016, took Bresnan for two further offside boundaries and then deposited a full-toss from Poysden for six over mid-wicket.
But after Jennings was lbw to Coad and Vilas trapped by Poysden to one that hurried on, Hameed was caught behind for 31 off a fine delivery from Patterson that climbed and left him, the Yorkshire captain striking again three balls later to have Clark caught behind as Lancashire slipped to 110-5.
At that stage a two-day win for Yorkshire was still on the cards, but Buttler and Bailey added a menacing 80 in 15 overs before Buttler’s late departure.