Notts v Yorkshire (day 1): Troubles mount up for Yorkshire at Trent Bridge
JUST about everything that could have gone wrong for Yorkshire this season has gone wrong.
Players giving up red-ball, players going to the IPL, players being dragged away by England, players being pulled out of overseas contracts, players leaving the club, and so on.
Indeed, it would be much easier to list the things that have gone right.
The latest misfortune to befall Yorkshire came yesterday morning when David Willey, standing in as captain only because Steve Patterson, the official captain, has a broken finger, himself fell injured at the 11th-hour.
Willey’s withdrawal with a back problem saw the captaincy pass to batsman Adam Lyth – remarkably, Yorkshire’s fifth captain in 10 Championship matches this year, if one discounts the opening game against Essex at Headingley that was entirely washed out.
It never rains but it pours, as the old saying goes, with Lyth taking on the responsibility/poisoned chalice after Gary Ballance, Joe Root, Patterson and Willey.
He chose not to contest the toss and to bowl first on a day when Nottinghamshire scored 332-7, four late wickets to the second new ball putting a much better gloss on proceedings from Yorkshire’s perspective before bad light ended play with 13 balls left. It was not that Lyth’s call – or non-call – was necessarily wrong; conditions were overcast throughout and felt as if they might help the bowlers, while Notts’s batting this season has been as fragile as Yorkshire’s; they were routed for 101 and 149 in last week’s innings defeat at Surrey.
But on a pitch that offered little assistance, with Yorkshire hoping to exploit any moisture on offer at the 10.30 start, it soon became a damage limitation exercise against a team who seem in no mood to produce spicy surfaces with three matches left to guarantee their own First Division safety, all of which are at Trent Bridge.
Yorkshire, who went into the game one place and one point shy of safety, against opponents sitting comparatively comfortable in fourth, showed six changes to the side that lost to Somerset less than 72 hours earlier.
Along with Willey, out went Andrew Hodd (back), Matthew Fisher (toe), Jack Leaning and Josh Shaw (both dropped) and Kane Williamson, who has finished his stint as overseas player.
Williamson was replaced by fellow New Zealander Jeet Patel, who debuted along with South African pace bowler Mat Pillans, while all-rounders Tim Bresnan and Matthew Waite returned along with leg-spinner Josh Poysden and wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall.
With the floodlights on, and with a brisk wind buffeting a crowd who came in their autumn garb, Yorkshire made a useful start.
Bresnan and Jack Brooks kept things tight in the early stages to the extent that Notts managed only 21 in the first 16 overs.
It should have been 14-1 in the 10th, but Ben Slater, a busy left-hander who top-scored with 109 from 184 balls with 19 fours, was dropped on six by Waite at mid-wicket after he pulled a ball from Brooks that he did not quite time.
It was an expensive miss, and slowly but surely the pressure was released, boundaries arriving at a rate of knots as Slater and Kraigg Brathwaite tucked into some loose stuff at times.
By lunch, the total was 104-0, 43 of them to Brathwaite (three more runs than he managed in two games and four innings for Yorkshire at the end of last season) and 55 to Slater, who reached his half-century from 89 balls.
Not until the first ball of the 57th over did a wicket fall, Brathwaite trapped lbw by Waite for 71 from 172 deliveries with 13 fours, the West Indian caught on the crease by a ball that came back.
The opening stand was worth 182, and Waite struck again in his next over, pinning Jake Libby in similar fashion to Brathwaite.
Waite, a sturdy 22-year-old making only his second Championship appearance and third in total, added another scalp just before tea when Slater was strangled down the leg-side as Notts slipped to 205-3.
After the break, Ben Duckett, the former England batsman who last week turned down Yorkshire in favour of a move to Trent Bridge, scored 80 on his debut after being passed fit to play following a hand injury.
Diminutive and dashing, Duckett struck 14 fours in his 89-ball stay, most of them a joy to behold, before edging behind a flashing drive off Bresnan.
Duckett added 87 for the fourth wicket inside 20 overs with his captain, Steven Mullaney, who was bowled by a jaffa from Brooks that shaped away and took out off stump.
Bresnan claimed his second wicket just before stumps, Tom Moores driving loosely to cover, and Brooks claimed his second when Luke Wood edged a drive to Tattersall as Yorkshire came back into the contest.