By Jonathan Veal at Queens Park, Chesterfield
Alex Lees and Phil Jaques both hit centuries in a record-breaking second-wicket stand of 311 as Yorkshire piled on the runs on the opening day of the LV= County Championship Division One clash against Derbyshire.
Having come together with the score 22 for one following Adam Lyth’s early dismissal, Lees, who finished unbeaten on 171, and Jaques, with 139, helped Yorkshire reach 367 for two in baking hot conditions at Chesterfield.
It was a landmark day for Lees as he celebrated his new contract with a career-best score that saw him dominate the Derbyshire bowlers with a number of delightful boundaries through the off side.
Jaques was in similarly good form at the other end and posted his first three-figure score of the season, putting some loose bowling to the sword with shots all around the wicket, before eventually falling to the new ball.
The hosts had a day to forget as their bowlers toiled on a flat pitch in sweltering temperatures, though Tim Groenewald’s dismissal of Jaques provided some cheer late on.
It was definitely a good toss to win and Tykes skipper Andrew Gale had no hesitation in making first use of ideal batting conditions.
After Lyth edged a fine delivery from Mark Footitt with his score on 10, it was all Yorkshire.
An array of off-side boundaries brought up the fifty partnership between Lees and Jaques, who soon moved to their individual half-centuries.
Lees passed 50 with a crunching back-foot drive off spinner Peter Burgoyne and Jaques followed suit in the next over, hoisting Mark Turner for six over midwicket in an over that went for 22.
After taking lunch on 151 for one with a run rate of 5.69 per over, the White Rose showed no mercy in the afternoon session as their left-handed pair took advantage of some generous bowling and a punishingly fast outfield.
Lees was the first to reach three figures in the 56th over, bringing up his second hundred in three matches off 163 balls, and it was the turn of former Australia batsman Jaques soon after as he flicked a full toss from Footitt down to fine-leg.
It was real hard work for Derbyshire and Turner found life particularly tough, going for 78 off his first 10 overs as the unrelenting Yorkshire duo took their stand beyond 250.
Lees registered his highest first-class score shortly before tea and the records kept on tumbling in the evening session as the White Rose’s record second-wicket stand of 305 against Derbyshire was eclipsed.
Lees and Jaques fell short of beating Yorkshire’s all-time second-wicket partnership of 346 when the latter edged Groenewald’s second new-ball delivery to second slip.
The youngster made it through to the close alongside fit-again skipper Gale and Yorkshire may yet fancy their chances of surpassing their record total against Derbyshire, a score of 677 for seven declared made earlier this season.