Yorkshire’s England captain Joe Root will be available for at least two Championship matches

YORKSHIRE will have England Test captain Joe Root available for at least their first two County Championship games.

Added bonus: Yorkshire will have the services of England captain Joe Root for at least the first two County Championship matches. Photo: Pankaj Nangia / Sportzpics for BCCI

The club has confirmed that Root will play against Glamorgan at Emerald Headingley from April 8 and against Kent at Canterbury from April 15.

Yorkshire play seven Championship fixtures before the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2. Root’s availability will be determined on a weekly basis in a busy year of international action.

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The prospect of Root lining up against his younger brother, Billy, who plays for Glamorgan, will add spice to the season opener, with further flavouring set to be supplied by the return to action of Gary Ballance.

Root’s former international colleague missed the truncated 2020 season through illness, but Ballance posted a patient half-century yesterday in his first innings since September 2019, top-scoring with 52 on day one of a two-day friendly against Middlesex at Northwood.

In a match in which first innings is restricted to 60 overs, Yorkshire scored 138-5 at the Merchant Taylors’ School ground.

Ballance faced 137 balls and batted for three hours, 17 minutes against an attack that included former England pace men Steven Finn and Toby Roland-Jones.

After Yorkshire were sent in, Will Fraine was lbw to Ethan Bamber for 11 in the seventh over. Tom Kohler-Cadmore fell in the next over, bowled pushing forward to Blake Cullen for three. Yorkshire slipped to 43-3 when Harry Brook edged Roland-Jones to third slip for 25.

Tom Loten chipped in with 23 before falling lbw to leg-spinner Luke Hollman, who ended Ballance’s resistance when the left-hander cut to backward-point. Jonny Tattersall (eight) and Matthew Waite (five) were the not out batsmen.

In reply, Middlesex reached 80-2 from 30 overs, Brook and Jack Shutt the wicket-takers, with Sam Robson unbeaten on 45.

While the first-team were in action down south, a largely inexperienced Yorkshire team began a two-day friendly against Durham at Headingley. The visitors scored 223-1 in a first innings that also lasted 60 overs.

Alex Lees, the former Yorkshire batsman, was the man out, lbw to Mat Pillans for 14.

No fewer than four batsmen retired themselves out to give others a go, Scott Borthwick top-scoring with 55. Will Luxton struck an unbeaten 28 as the hosts reached 62-3 at stumps.

Yorkshire will conclude their pre-season preparations with two three-day university friendlies at Headingley.

Leeds Bradford UCCE will be the visitors from March 29 before Yorkshire take on Durham UCCE from April 3.

The matches will be played behind closed doors and neither will have first-class status.

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