Openers Lyth and Lees ready to open up together again for Yorkshire

Adam Lyth is confident he and Alex Lees can rekindle their successful opening partnership of years gone by for Yorkshire.

Yorkshire's Alex Lees, left, and Adam Lyth.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Yorkshire's Alex Lees, left, and Adam Lyth. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

But the left-hander is bitterly disappointed they have not had chance to perform yet.

The White Rose’s opening County Championship match against Essex was abandoned without a ball bowled yesterday due to a wet outfield at Emerald Headingley.

Since returning from their pre-season tour to Potchefstroom late last month, the pair have only batted together for 11.1 overs in match action and have had less than a handful of outdoor nets.

On Friday, Yorkshire host Nottinghamshire, who beat Lancashire in their opener at Old Trafford.

“Notts are a very good outfit and have signed well,” said Lyth.

“They’ve got a good overseas in Ross Taylor, and we’ll have to play well to beat them.

“Hopefully, with some sunshine this week, we can get going.

Yorkshire's Adam Lyth: Aims to be back to his best in the red-ball game.

“We were looking forward to last week from the moment we came back from Potch, but, unfortunately, we just haven’t been able to get outside.

“I think we’ve had four hits outside since we came back. But we’ll be ready to go come Friday.”

Lyth and Lees were county cricket’s most successful opening partnership in 2014 when Yorkshire won the first of back-to-back Championship titles.

They shared six half-century stands, one of 100, one of 375, one of 270 and one of 176, averaging 75.6 together.

Yorkshire's Adam Lyth: Aims to be back to his best in the red-ball game.

But they have struggled to match that since and found themselves split up during the final month of last season having averaged 19.5. While Lyth opened, Lees dropped down to three.

Both had disappointing campaigns, with Lyth scoring 555 runs with one hundred and Lees 531 – also with one century.

This year, however, coach Andrew Gale has shown faith and reunited the pair.

Lyth said: “It didn’t go to plan last year, but we’ve had success in the past. There’s no reason why we can’t get back to that.

“If I’d have got another 200 or 300 runs in the red-ball stuff, it would have been a great year for me.

“I did very well against the white ball, but I couldn’t marry it up.

“That’s why it was so frustrating for me, Leesy, who would have also liked to do better, and the rest of the team.

“We want to get out there and show everyone what we can do.”

Despite suffering a grade two calf tear in February while hill running, Lyth has enjoyed a productive winter both at home and abroad.

He had a pre-Christmas spell playing for Bangladesh Premier League champions Rangpur Riders alongside Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum.

“I really enjoyed that even though I didn’t play as much as I’d like,” he said. “It was fantastic getting to know different players and conditions.”

Back to the challenge of facing Notts when, on Friday, he is almost certain to be facing the new ball sent down by fringe England Test bowler Jake Ball, who returned match figures of 9-57 against Lancashire.

“I personally like batting first here anyway, but that’s just me,” he added. “It will be tough with the weather we’ve had, but that’s just early season batting.

“I don’t mind batting first even in April because pitches here tend to dent and get harder as the game goes on. It probably does a bit more later after it’s dented. If it seams, it generally does it a touch slower first up.”

Ben Coad is stepping up his return from a hip flexor injury by playing the first two days of a second-team friendly against Lancashire at Old Trafford.

If he gets through without problems, he is likely to face Notts.

Harry Gurney, 31, returned career-best bowling figures of 6-25 as Ball took 4-14 at the other end, as Lancashire were bundled out for only 73 in their second innings against Notts, losing their last eight wickets for 15 runs on the final morning.

Gurney is looking forward to Friday, saying: “Over the last five or six years, Yorkshire have been the best team in the Championship, so there’ll certainly not be any over-confidence when we get up there,” he said.

“We’ll pay them the full respect because they are a very good side but, obviously, we’ll also be arriving full of confidence after the start we’ve made.”