Century-makers Fin Bean and George Hill put Yorkshire CCC in control
The thunder and lightning were reserved for the pitch, where Yorkshire made excellent progress with the bat on day one.
It already looks a long way back for a Gloucestershire team without a win this year in Division Two.
Yorkshire, who have won only one Championship game themselves, their last against Derbyshire, were positive of stroke, footwork and mindset.
Their scoring rate was good - 4.32 runs per over: not quite ‘Bazball’, perhaps, but certainly not sluggish.
The pitch was true, the outfield quick and Gloucestershire’s bowling a mixed bag.
A preponderance of four balls (55) betrayed a certain tendency towards inaccuracy and inconsistency, with Yorkshire taking decisive advantage.
The day began with some breaking news, Dom Bess joining Warwickshire on loan. The off-spinner – who played Test cricket as recently as March 2021 – was straight into their side against Essex in Chelmsford, taking 2-143 from 32 overs.
That Bess has gone out and Dan Moriarty, the left-arm spinner signed on a four-match loan from Surrey, has come in would appear suggestive.
Moriarty, who, if he is not nicknamed “Professor”, should be, had to wait to take to the field on his ‘Holmes’ debut (I’ll get my coat...) after Yorkshire’s decision to bat – as did Mark Steketee, the Australian pace man, who has also joined on a four-game deal. The hosts were without pace bowler Ben Coad due to “personal reasons” and all-rounder Jordan Thompson “resting a sore ankle”.
Beneath curls of low cloud penetrated by sporadic shafts of sunshine, especially in the morning, the match began at a rare old lick.
After eight overs, Yorkshire were 61-2, proceedings having started with a blizzard of boundaries and also with the wickets of Adam Lyth and Shan Masood.
Lyth was first to go with the score on 33, caught at second slip trying to withdraw his bat to a ball from Matt Taylor. Masood fell in the same over for a third-ball duck when he was trapped lbw back on the crease.
This, and the next round of Championship matches, are being played with a Kookaburra ball in an effort to better prepare players for overseas international cricket. Bean seemed to take an instant liking to the cherry as he drove, pulled and clipped it with aplomb, putting away bad balls and defending the good ones.
The 21-year-old left-hander has had a largely lean time of it since scoring 118 in the first Championship match of the season here - a few positive starts, but no sizeable innings.
This was a timely reminder of his qualities and what a good young player he is; a swept six off Zafar Gohar, the left-arm spinner, made a lovely crisp sound as it came off the bat. Bean added 57 with Dawid Malan, who was third out with the score on 90 when he edged an attempted pull off Ben Charlesworth to wicketkeeper James Bracey.
Hill arrived and duly cut the same bowler for successive boundaries and, after Bean brought up a 59-ball fifty, Yorkshire lunched on 139-3 from 29 overs.
As the wind whipped up after the break, suggesting a storm was not far away, Hill lofted Gohar for six over long-on as he grew in stature. Alongside Bean, the 22--year-old Hill represents the future of Yorkshire’s batting and, on this evidence, it looks bright as the pair added 153 for the fourth-wicket in 36 overs.
Hill brought up an 82-ball half-century and then played perhaps the shot of the day, a glorious on-driven four off Tom Price.
Jason Gillespie, the former Yorkshire coach who was part of the BBC commentary team for the day, remarked that Hill “jumped on it like a seagull on a hot chip”, a description upon which it is impossible to improve. It was good to see the former Australia fast bowler back on his old stomping ground almost seven years now since he left.
Bean reached his century from 140 balls before picking out Charlesworth on the deep square-leg boundary off Zaman Akhtar with a full-blooded pull. A few metres either side and it would have been a boundary; as it was, a palpably disappointed Bean could barely drag himself off to the extent that he might just have become the first man in history to be “timed in”.
Hill reached three figures from 177 balls shortly after tea but was caught behind driving at spinner Price. Tattersall played with typical understated fluency before edging the second new ball to second slip, having faced 113 balls and hit 13 fours.
A brief shower forced the players off at 388-6 and stole five overs, but they returned for 14 balls as the two Mattys, Revis and Fisher, lived to fight another – and hopefully not quite as humid – day.