Hampshire v Yorkshire: George Hill and Harry Brook put visitors in strong position

GEORGE HILL hit his second first-class century and Harry Brook his ninth score of 50-plus in 10 County Championship innings this season as Yorkshire dominated the opening day of their game against Hampshire in Southampton.

Hill made 131 and Brook 76 as Yorkshire scored 324-5 after captain Steve Patterson won the toss for the sixth time in seven Championship matches.

Hill, 21, batted for all but the last 10.2 overs of a sun-kissed day on a good batting pitch at the Ageas Bowl.

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The opener faced 257 balls and hit 21 fours and two sixes, reaching his hundred from 220 deliveries as he backed up his unbeaten 151 against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road earlier in the campaign.

Yorkshire's George Hill.  Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comYorkshire's George Hill.  Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Yorkshire's George Hill. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Brook, 23, faced 95 balls and hit 10 fours and a six and shared a second-wicket stand of 141 with Hill in 204 deliveries.

It lifted Brook’s seasonal tally to 916 runs in 10 Championship innings and he is now the leading run-scorer across the divisions.

The day began with a minor milestone for Adam Lyth, who, in scoring the first runs of the match in the opening over – a three through mid-wicket off Keith Barker – reached 12,000 first-class runs on his 202nd appearance.

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Lyth hit 145 in the previous Championship match against Warwickshire before the break for the first half of the T20 Blast but his joy was short-lived this time, the left-hander falling for 19 after 90 minutes’ play to end an opening stand of 51 in 24 overs.

Having started his innings well enough, Lyth had just begun to dry up when he tried a little too hard to regain his fluency and ended up edging a loose drive at seamer Ian Holland into the gully.

It was Hampshire’s only success of the morning, which Yorkshire closed on 68-1 (Hill 42).

Tall and powerful, with a mixture of classical and contemporary strokes, Hill played some lovely shots in the morning especially as the Championship made a welcome return.

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The right-hander pushed Kyle Abbott to the mid-on boundary and, next ball, produced arguably the moment of the day, off-driving the South African pace bowler fractionally wide of the stumps for a glorious boundary.

Keith Barker, with whom Abbott shared the new ball, was also dispatched by Hill to the mid-off boundary and how Hampshire must have rued the fact that this is one of the few games that they are without their overseas 
player Mohammad Abbas, who had taken 26 wickets in their 
first six matches at an average of 16.30.

The Pakistan pace bowler is set to return later in the year and Hampshire were naturally not quite as potent without him.

Only when Holland dried up the scoring rate in an opening spell in which Lyth departed did they exert any real control, Holland’s opening burst yielding the striking figures of 7-6-1-1.

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There was more than an element of rotten luck to Yorkshire’s second wicket, Will Fraine run-out backing-up after Barker accidentally turned a drive from Hill on to the stumps in his follow-through.

Fraine was looking in good order and had produced four boundaries in his 20.

Brook was immediately into his stride, driving James Fuller to the mid-on boundary and cover-driving Brad Wheal with similar effect.

Had he not been bowled by leg-spinner Matt Parkinson for 41 in the first innings of the Roses match at Headingley last month, and instead made a half-century, Brook would yesterday have equalled the record for the most successive scores of 50-plus in first-class cricket – 10 by Ernest Tyldesley, Don Bradman and Romesh Kaluwitharana.

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Yorkshire, for whom Matthew Waite and Dominic Drakes replaced Joe Root and Tom Loten from the last Championship game, enjoyed a productive afternoon bar Fraine’s dismissal, scoring 118 in the session in 32 overs to reach 186-2 at tea.

By then, both Hill and Brook had their half-centuries, reached from 131 and 68 balls respectively, and it was difficult to see where another wicket was coming from until Brook rather guided Fuller to James Vince at leg-slip.

Fuller tested Hill with some short stuff, the only time that the batsman looked uncomfortable as such. Otherwise, Hill was in control for the most part – not least when twice lofting the left-arm spin of Liam Dawson over the long-on rope.

Yorkshire lost two wickets to the second new ball, Abbott bowling Hill through the gate to end a partnership of 54 in 89 balls with Waite, who played well for an unbeaten 38 from 74 balls with six boundaries.

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Harry Duke, once again preferred behind the stumps to Jonny Tattersall, stroked 27 from 28 and could consider himself a tad unfortunate when Holland produced a fine delivery to clip the top of off stump.

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