Yorkshire CCC openers Adam Lyth and Fin Bean going from strength to strength
But ‘Lyth and Bean’ is doing just fine - an opening stand of growing stature at a club that has always done top opening pairs.
Whether Adam Lyth and Fin Bean etch their way into Yorkshire’s record books in quite the same way as Percy Holmes and Herbert Sutcliffe in the inter-war years, or Martyn Moxon and Ashley Metcalfe in the 80s and 90s, remains to be seen.
What can be stated is that the two left-handers - who first batted together at the end of last season - are following in the very best Yorkshire traditions, laying foundations of impressive substance and, quite frankly, remarkable consistency.
Their latest tour de force, on day three against Leicestershire at Grace Road, was a stand of 112, their fourth three-figure effort of the Championship season to go with another seven partnerships of 50-plus.
It was their eighth stand of 50-plus, in fact, in nine innings, a sequence interrupted only by the 45 they shared here in the first innings.
More importantly, their latest century alliance looked to have averted what seemed a real threat of defeat when they walked out, notwithstanding any final day calamities, of course.
For Yorkshire trailed by 78 on first innings after a slipshod afternoon session in which Leicestershire’s last-wicket pair of Harry Swindells and Will Davis added 93 in 82 balls, a record for the 10th-wicket in first-class games between the teams; however, in reaching 113-1 at stumps (Bean shouldering arms to Tom Scriven for 43 just before the close), the visitors now hold a lead of 35.
Although Lyth was not culpable for the progression of the Swindells-Davis axis, as Yorkshire’s bowlers lost their way and perhaps tried too hard, he was in terms of setting the tone for the afternoon in general and perhaps felt that he owed his team a few runs (51 and counting) - most of them made with customary panache.
The maestro will turn 36 on Monday and he must have felt every one of his advancing years when he dropped two chances at second slip off successive balls from Ben Coad, who could only watch in horror as Scriven, the Leicestershire No 8, was spilled on two.
If one was picking a slip fielder to slip-catch for one’s life, to adapt the famous phrase that is used of Geoff Boycott, then Lyth would be right up there, but the first chance saw the ball inexplicably slip from his grasp like a bar of soap as he came up from a low position, while the second struck him in the chest before he could get his mitts around it, his mind doubtless still on the previous delivery.
To compound the frustration of poor old Coad, the most undemonstrative and equable of pace men, Scriven edged the next ball low to the third-man boundary between Lyth and George Hill at first; it never rains, and all that...
When the two opportunities went down, Leicestershire were 110-6 in reply to Yorkshire’s first innings 155 in a match that has moved swiftly but been badly affected by the weather. Only 114.3 overs have been delivered so far, with a further 25 lost on an often sunny day three, but the time of year is, unsurprisingly, catching up with the Championship competition.
Leicestershire have to win to stand any chance of promotion by overtaking Worcestershire, so must surely try to make something happen on day four, but they missed a golden opportunity to get stuck into Yorkshire on this third evening, Lyth and Bean taking the sting out of the situation in a manner that was of huge frustration to the newly-crowned One-Day Cup champions.
Lyth, in fact, technically dropped three catches on this curate’s egg of a day for him, the other coming shortly before lunch when Louis Kimber edged Ben Cliff towards him at second slip once again.
Luckily for Lyth, the ball deflected from his hands straight to Bean at third slip, and Cliff, the 20-year-old who made his Championship debut at Cardiff last week, had a wicket with his second delivery.
Cliff started the day with bat in hand as Yorkshire resumed on 155-9. He played out a dot-ball before Jordan Thompson fell to his second delivery as the visitors failed to add to their first day score, the second day having been washed out.
Coad struck with the second ball of the Leicestershire reply, pinning Rishi Patel, but Lewis Hill’s jaunty 42 got the hosts back on course.
It needed a fine intervention by Hill to arrest matters for Yorkshire, the all-rounder first having his namesake caught behind before winning lbw verdicts against Sam Evans, Umar Amin and Ben Cox. Scriven hung around before Thompson bowled him for 17, Thompson then having Chris Wright caught by Lyth at second slip, high to his right, in amends of sorts for the fielder.
Cliff bowled Scott Currie, and Swindells was last out for an excellent 73, caught behind off Matty Revis, with last man Will Davis unbeaten on a career-best 44.