Lyth and Lees excel ahead of late fall 
of wickets

Adam Lyth hits out on his way to his century.
Adam Lyth hits out on his way to his century.
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YORKSHIRE’s Adam Lyth and Alex Lees shared an opening stand of 270 before Durham hit back with seven wickets in the 
final session.

Lyth made 143 and Lees 108 
after the home side were sent into bat by former England captain Paul Collingwood.

But Yorkshire collapsed to 291-5 as pace bowler Mark Wood captured 4-4 in 11 balls and then slipped from 337-5 to 367-7 at stumps.

It left the match still in Yorkshire’s favour, but not to the extent it might have been after Durham had to wait 71.3 overs for their first breakthrough.

After Collingwood’s decision to insert in glorious sunshine, Lyth and Lees built their second huge stand in the space of five weeks.

The left-handers added 375 against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road, the fourth-highest partnership in Yorkshire’s history.

This was not quite the same flawless exhibition, but was still a highly impressive one against a superior bowling attack.

Instead of becoming the platform for a huge score, however, Yorkshire collapsed to the extent there is still a chance they might not reach 400 and maximum batting points, although they should still be pretty pleased.

On what felt like a batting day from the start, Yorkshire enjoyed a magnificent morning.

With Graeme Onions absent with a back injury, Yorkshire set the tone by taking 13 runs off the first over bowled by Chris Rushworth.

Lyth and Lees were punishing through the offside, taking full advantage of a short square boundary to the White Rose Stand and some profligate bowling at times.

Neither player was in the mood to miss out as they treated the 2,000 crowd to their full range of strokes. As the scoreboard ticked over at a rate of knots, Yorkshire might well have reflected that they had been bowled out for 95 in just 17.2 overs by Durham in a T20 match here last Wednesday.

Yesterday, they passed that score in 19.1 overs when Lyth clipped a leg-side four off Paul Coughlin, the contrast between the respective batting displays palpably evident.

Three balls later, Lyth cover-drove Coughlin to the boundary to raise the century partnership.

Lyth’s contribution to the stand was 45 and Lees’s 44, the pair keeping pace with each other throughout and having an almost equal share of the strike.

Durham’s plight was such that Collingwood was forced to toss the ball to leg-spinner Scott Borthwick after less than 90 minutes’ play, Lees slapping a full toss from him over mid-on into the Rugby Stand.

Lyth also looked to get after Borthwick, one full-blooded pull looking destined for the boundary had it not cannoned off Keaton Jennings’s helmet at short-leg, the fielder thankfully sustaining no injury.

Lyth won the race to fifty, which he reached from 71 balls with 10 fours, Lees following him to the mark from 67 deliveries with eight fours.

At lunch, Yorkshire were 
145-0 from 32 overs and Durham and Collingwood had much to ponder. To their credit, the visitors tightened up after the break and stymied the scoring.

There were one or two plays-and-misses, the odd skied shot landed agonisingly short of fielders, and Lyth and Lees occasionally rode their luck.

Lees had a big slice of fortune when he had made 91, edging Coughlin to wicketkeeper Phil Mustard, who inexplicably spilled the chance when the total was 217.

Lees brought up his hundred from 189 balls with 13 boundaries, not long after Lyth had gone to his century from 183 deliveries with 19 fours, but after the fireworks of the morning, 86 runs arrived in the 32 overs between lunch and tea.

After the break, Lees fell to his 200th ball, lbw to Borthwick, and Yorkshire collapsed in unexpected manner. Wood had Lyth and Andrew Gale lbw, he bowled Jonny Bairstow offering no shot, and then he beat the forward-defensive push of Jack Leaning.

In an eye-blink, Durham had clawed themselves back into the game. Under the circumstances, Yorkshire were not a little grateful for a sixth-wicket stand of 46 in 8.2 overs between Aaron Finch and Adil Rashid that steadied the ship.

Finch, who scored a brilliant, unbeaten 181 for MCC against Rest of the World XI at Lord’s on Saturday, looked in fine touch on his way to 36 from 42 balls with six fours. He perished to a delivery from Rushworth that perhaps bounced on him a bit and which he could only edge to Borthwick at second slip.

In Rushworth’s previous over, Rashid had gone to another catch at second slip by Borthwick, the eighth-wicket pair of Steve Patterson and Tim Bresnan adding an unbeaten 23 at the death.