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Root and Bairstow put Yorkshire in command

Northants Cricket

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Joe Root completed his first hundred at Headingley Carnegie and Jonny Bairstow struck a half-century as Yorkshire claimed maximum batting points for the first time since June 2010 on the second day of the LV= County Championship clash with Northamptonshire.

Right-handers Root and Bairstow combined exceptionally in a fluent 147-run fourth-wicket stand that took Yorkshire towards Northants’ first-innings 253.

A partnership of 68 between Anthony McGrath, who made 47, and Azeem Rafiq guided the White Rose towards five bonus points, with Mitchell Starc’s unbeaten 31-ball 28 propelling Andrew Gale's side to 416.

Northamptonshire, facing a testing 25-over spell, saw makeshift opener James Middlebrook fall lbw to Starc for nine and were still 120 runs behind when bad light brought the day to a premature end with the score on 43 for one.

When play finally got under way at 12pm following early morning rain in Leeds, Root - unbeaten with 98 of his side’s 190 for three - went to three figures by guiding the third ball of the day down to the vacant third-man boundary.

Joe Root

Joe Root completed his first century at Headingley Carnegie as Yorkshire established a dominant position against Northamptonshire on day three

Bairstow, given permission to play by England, went to his fifty off 92 balls, but Andrew Hall made an unexpected breakthrough shortly before lunch when Root, on 125, edged a lifting delivery behind to David Murphy, who took a smart catch standing up.

Skipper Hall, before taking himself out of the attack due to injury, again checked the hosts’ progress in the 66th over when a slightly reserved Bairstow, trying to whip the ball through midwicket, had his furniture rearranged for 68.

Gary Ballance and McGrath were starved of runs early on, taking 17 and 14 deliveries to get off the mark, as Yorkshire were content to crawl their way to 400 rather than giving themselves the best chance of victory as bad light and weather came into the equation.

That proved to be their downfall as Ballance, despite showing intent earlier in the over as Yorkshire moved to 300, was caught at bat-pad pushing forward to a James Middlebrook delivery for 24.

As the lead crept past 50, Rafiq upped the tempo with an array of delicious strokes, cutting and driving effectively either side of thumping Middlebrook over mid-off for four.

The off-spinning all-rounder, playing instead of Adil Rashid, and McGrath dug in for a valuable 15-over spell at the crease until the former, on 37, slashed a wide Lee Daggett delivery behind to spark a mini collapse.

Despite David Willey trapping McGrath in front and Ryan Sidebottom edging to first slip to become Daggett’s fourth victim with 21 still needed, Starc provided some lusty blows to help Yorkshire pass their target as Middlebrook bowled Steven Patterson to wrap up the innings.

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