Jonny Bairstow looks down on the play as Adam Lyth marches on
The image, which magically appeared during the close season, presumably in the dead of night when no one was watching, advertises “Luxury Holiday Accommodation” therein, replete with “Hot Tub”, “Cinema Room” and the rhetorical observation “How’s That?”
The mural has an ironic as well as an opportunistic feel, given that Bairstow has not played at Scarborough since 2015, when his 139 and 74 not out in a seven-wicket win against Worcestershire helped to earn a recall to the Test team after an 18-month absence.
For those Yorkshire fans on whom his fizzog looks down, watching on in the great amphitheatre that is North Marine Road, it is a poignant reminder that they see so little of this tremendous player nowadays, along with Joe Root and Harry Brook, his England team-mates.
One man who is a regular sight in these parts, though, as symbolic of cricket at Scarborough as any Yorkshire player, is Adam Lyth, who learnt his trade on this hallowed turf.
Lyth, of Whitby, whose club ground this is, has been walking out to bat from the old red-bricked pavilion for as long as he can recall; equally, he has been returning to it to the strains of appreciative applause, as was the case on the second day here.
It was shortly after lunch on a muggy afternoon that Lyth, who turns 36 in September, was clapped in after transferring his overnight 75 into his 32nd first-class century, his second in successive Championship innings and his third in the format at North Marine Road.
The left-hander made 111 from 188 balls, the last of which nestled in the gloves of wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson, after Lyth edged behind an attempted cut off Ben Raine as Yorkshire advanced from 142-2 on a rain-hit first day to 340 all-out before Durham reached 106-1 at the game’s midway point.
As was the case on that first day, when Yorkshire lost both those wickets after a lengthy weather stoppage, Lyth was the first of a flurry of dismissals after further rain came shortly before lunch on day two, trimming 12 overs off the day’s allocation and juicing up conditions unhelpfully for the hosts.
Barely had the cheers for Lyth subsided when Matty Revis tried to drive a high-rising delivery from Matthew Potts and was caught behind by Robinson at the second attempt, like someone juggling balls at the circus.
In the next over, Jonny Tattersall played-on an attempted pull off Bas de Leede, who then had Ben Coad taken at point after the pace bowler hit 19 off 10 balls, leaving Yorkshire 260-7. In that post-rain phase, Yorkshire lost 4-48 as Durham suitably exploited conditions; however, as those conditions eased again, Jordan Thompson and Matty Fisher added a useful 46, Thompson going on to crash 54 from 52 balls with four leg- side sixes that threatened spectators and seagulls alike, the all-rounder last out when he picked out long-leg after Mark Steketee skied to mid-on.
Thompson, aka “The Man Who Makes Things Happen”, a tacky if true sobriquet, struck with his second ball after replacing Fisher at the Peasholm Park end after Durham moved to 42-0 inside 10 overs, having Michael Jones caught behind off an inside edge.
But Alex Lees, the former Yorkshire batsman, continued his outstanding form (four hundreds in five Championship innings prior to this game) to reach 65 at stumps, with captain Scott Borthwick on 29, bad light claiming the last nine overs.
Remnants of Tuesday’s rain were still visible in the muddy areas around the boundary and in the puddles in the stand at the Peasholm Park end, although conditions were generally much improved, with sunshine gracing most of the day.
Ryan Rickleton was the only casualty in a good morning for Yorkshire, lbw to Raine for 13, a session preceded by a members’ forum in the white marquee beside the West Stand in which Darren Gough, the club’s managing director of cricket, president Jane Powell and board member Richard Levin held court.
Lyth reached his hundred after an hour’s action, the milestone evidently meaning a great deal to him as he punched the air and let out a huge roar of celebration, as though he had just won a year’s subscription to The Yorkshire Post.
Durham, to their credit, did not allow their heads to drop and it began to feel as if ball was just beginning to get on top of bat towards the end of the morning exchanges, with one or two close shaves and a spilled chance when Jones put down Revis at first slip off de Leede (later, David Bedingham put down Fisher at second slip off the same man, which would have left Yorkshire 282-8).
Up in the gods, the great Bairstow roared, expression unchanged.