Billy Root outdoes big brother Joe but Adam Lyth spares Yorkshire blushes


Opener’s ton helps ease home side to a draw after being set 379 to win in 76 overs

Yorkshire 193 (Lyth 52) and 223 for 4 (Lyth 115*, Brook 60) drew with Glamorgan 330 (van der Gugten 85*, Douthwaite 57, Carlson 55, Hogan 54, Coad 4-94) and 241 for 4 dec (B Root 110*, Cook 102*)

The battle of the Roots fell decidedly to Billy as he put his more illustrious brother in the shade in their first Championship head-to-head by completing a century on the final day at Headingley. Glamorgan can take satisfaction, too, from a dominant performance that allowed them to set Yorkshire 379 in 76 overs, although the match was saved comfortably enough at 223 for 4.

Yorkshire’s saving grace was Adam Lyth, whose carefree 115 not out banished fears of a disastrous first-game defeat against a Glamorgan side who are viewed as one of the underdogs in Group Three, but who thoroughly relished the chance to spread disquiet among the White Rose.

Once he had survived some testing early overs, Lyth’s was an innings of impeccable timing – in more ways than one. It was his 25th first-class hundred and he is right to suggest that had he been more ruthless he would have made more. He marked Yorkshire’s performance as 6/10 which probably allowed a mark for the disagreeable conditions which as the players left the field for the final time has dropped as low as 3.5C.

Billy Root had 77 overnight and his sixth first-class hundred came, suitably, against the bowling of Joe. England’s Test captain was brought into the attack with a handful of runs needed, in the hope that his exalted presence would be enough for a bit of mental disintegration. A clip into the leg side ensured the century would be achieved without alarm and, as a single against the following ball brought the brothers to the same end, they exchanged an understated punch of fists.

Glamorgan’s declaration at 241 for 4 came upon the completion of their second hundred of the morning, by Chris Cooke, leaving the fourth-wicket stand unbroken of 212 in 70 overs. Throughout the match, batsmen have struggled markedly against the new ball only for conditions to ease substantially thereafter.

Joe Root became one of three Yorkshire batsmen to succumb to Glamorgan’s new-ball attack. Michael Hogan and Timm van der Gugten are an experienced and battle-hardened pairing, the sort of men who might once have been found heading a mule train. Their Yorkshire counterparts, Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher, are already laid up in the covered wagon with Coad’s injury the greater cause for concern.

As Yorkshire outside edges were repeatedly beaten in the opening overs, Glamorgan’s slips seemed to have been replaced by the Treorchy Male Voice Choir. The crescendo was reached when Tom Kohler-Cadmore was adjudged caught off an inside edge as van der Gugten’s big inducker also struck his thigh. Tom Loten, receiving a similar delivery from Hogan, was ruled lbw to a ball that might have struck him outside the line. Root’s dismissal was straightforward as he covered up around off stump and edged Dan Douthwaite to first slip.

Lyth, though, soon looked eminently capable of saving the game. He found polished support from Harry Brook, who made 60, and runs came particularly easily as Glamorgan’s spinners were as interested in quickening the over rate as taking wickets. But when Brook mistimed Hogan to extra cover soon after tea, any fancy that Yorkshire might flirt with 7-plus runs an over after tea were immediately forgotten.

At least we had play. The snow that curtailed the third day had disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. There was still plenty of snow “on the tops”, and beyond, in Lancashire, the media had been issued with blankets. Over this side, it was just agreed that it was a “bit parky”, and the cold was a salutary reminder that the players of both sides deserved recognition just for staying out there. As a draw was agreed with eight overs remaining, it began to snow again.

All this talk of snow had excited Dickie Bird as he parked his Jaguar in the Headingley car park (“Am ah still on’t kerb? Can’t be. Nivver”). The World’s Most Famous Umpire (Retd) was reminiscing about Buxton ’75 where two inches of snow had fallen in June. “Six inches of snow there were!” said Dickie. “The next day Ashley Harvey-Walker gave me his false teeth wrapped in a hanky and told me to look after ’em because he wouldn’t be in for long.”

Harvey-Walker, renowned as one of Derbyshire’s more colourful characters, met a tragic end when he was shot in a Johannesburg bar. A reminder that even after four days where the temperature has never gone higher than 8C to be young, alive and playing cricket is something to treasure.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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