Bairstow bludgeons Leicestershire
Jonny Bairstow helped Yorkshire overcome the news Ajmal Shahzad is to leave the county by striking 141 not out in their LV= County Championship Division Two clash with Leicestershire.
It emerged yesterday that England seamer Shahzad is surprisingly being allowed to leave Headingley Carnegie, but Bairstow was able to appease White Rose as he profited from some early luck before finding his best form at Scarborough.
Coming in at 33 for three, the wicketkeeper-batsman - capped by England in limited-overs cricket - was dropped on 19 and initially looked skittish.
However, by the end of the day, Bairstow was at his dominant best as Yorkshire closed on 329 for five.
The visitors chose to bowl first a soft pitch, which made timing the ball difficult, and Joe Root and Joe Sayers could only make slow progress.
Sayers never really settled; he was dropped by Claude Henderson at mid-on in the second over when he mistimed a pull at Alex Wyatt and again by Ramnaresh Sarwan at first slip off Robbie Joseph, who had him lbw with his next delivery.
Leicestershire wasted little time in turning to the left-arm spin of Henderson and he soon picked up the valuable wicket of Phil Jaques, also lbw as he attempted to sweep. Without addition to the score, Wayne White came on and, off his first ball, had Root caught low at point by Matthew Boyce.
Bairstow joined Andrew Gale and the Yorkshire captain was by far the more fluent of the two early on, three times taking boundaries off Nadeem Malik with well-timed shots through extra-cover. He had a life just before lunch, however, when Sarwan put down another one at slip, this time off Henderson.
The visitors were made to suffer for some poor work in the field and shortly after the interval Bairstow, on 19, edged Wyatt to second slip, where the chance was put down by Jacques du Toit, the batsman responding with a couple off sixes at Henderson's expense.
The fourth-wicket pair gradually assumed command and Gale just pipped his partner to the half-century mark, his runs coming off 84 balls with six boundaries. In the same over from Malik, Bairstow's midwicket boundary took him to his fifty from 82 balls, his runs including four fours and two sixes.
Gale continued to play some splendid ground shots, particularly through the off side, but, having reached 80, he drove loosely at a wide ball from White and was caught behind by Ned Eckersley, his stand with Bairstow having produced 160 in 40 overs.
Bairstow was also on 80 at tea, but, soon after the interval, he lost Gary Ballance, who top-edged a pull at Malik and hit the ball straight in the air for Boyce to take the catch.
Yorkshire had slipped to 217 for five but they recovered through another productive stand between Bairstow and Anthony McGrath, who had regained his place as a result of Shahzad's omission.
Shortly after completing his fourth century for Yorkshire off 172 deliveries with seven fours and three sixes, Bairstow blasted Henderson high over the rope at long-off and McGrath rapidly warmed to his task with some vintage strokes.
It was McGrath who raised the century stand in 22 overs by striking Joseph firmly to the midwicket boundary and he was unbeaten on 49 at the close with Yorkshire in sight of maximum batting bonus points.