McGrath ton puts Yorkshire in command
Anthony McGrath rolled back the years with a magnificent century to boost Yorkshire’s LV= County Championship promotion hopes against table-topping Derbyshire.
The ex-England man guided the home side to 420 all out and maximum batting points as they look to close the gap on the Division Two leaders, who reached 28 for one in reply before the close of play on day two.
Wes Durston secured career-best bowling figures of 5-34 with his part-time off-spin, but four of those victims came after the 110-over cut-off point for bowling points, meaning Derbyshire collected just one.
Yorkshire had reached 127 for two on a rain-shortened opening day, and Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance took full advantage of some loose bowling this morning to reach their century partnership from only 147 balls.
Ballance brought up his fifty off Ross Whiteley shortly after, and celebrated by crashing the left-hander through the covers for four as 13 came from the over.
Whiteley fared better in his next over, however, with Lyth – who had not offered a chance in his 150-ball knock to that point – tamely pushing a wide half-volley to Matt Lineker at point for 93.
Ballance departed shortly after lunch having tickled a Tim Groenewald delivery to Tom Poynton behind the stumps, the left-hander having hit 11 boundaries in his 79.
McGrath started slowly but lofted Durston down the ground for six before partner Adil Rashid fell two overs later, the off-spinner pegging back his middle stump with one that turned through the gate.
At 280 for five, the momentum was still in the balance at that stage, but McGrath – ably assisted by debutant Andrew Hodd – carried Yorkshire past the all-important 400 mark.
McGrath raced to 78 by tea, with Mark Turner’s extra pace proving particularly to the 36-year-old’s liking.
Out of contract at the end of the season, McGrath did his chances of a new deal no harm as he cut the former Somerset man square for four, before lacing two glorious cover drives to the ropes either side of a more unorthodox lift over the slip cordon.
With a run a ball needed for five overs to bring up the final batting point in time, Sussex loanee wicketkeeper Hodd drove Groenewald through the off side before twice pulling spinner David Wainwright for four en route to a half-century.
McGrath hit Groenewald straight down the ground to bring up the 400 and his century in one fell swoop, but Yorkshire’s decision to bat on at the end of the over brought little reward.
First McGrath cut Durston straight to backward point to depart for 104, and Hodd was out to the former Somerset all-rounder for 58 in the same over.
Tim Bresnan, replacing Moin Ashraf after being left out the England side at Lord’s this morning, made just one after a dash up the M1 before slogging Wainwright to mid-on. Azeem Rafiq and Ryan Sidebottom fell in Durston’s next over as the last five wickets yielded just nine runs.
That left Lineker and Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen 11 overs to play out and they were rarely troubled in adding 28 runs.
But Bresnan trapped the latter lbw with the last ball of the day, leaving the away side 392 runs behind going into day three.