County battle but Yorkshire are in the ascendancy

Northampton County Ground.'Northants v Gloucestershire.'Andrew Hall.
Northampton County Ground.'Northants v Gloucestershire.'Andrew Hall.

Patterson, who received his first team cap before the start of the game, responded by firing out both openers.

Left-arm paceman Starc, on his Championship debut, also picked up two early wickets as the visitors slumped to 45 for five in this Division Two contest after winning the toss.

However, captain Andrew Hall, led a spirited rearguard action with a rugged 79 which boosted his side’s score to 253. In five overs before the close, Yorkshire reached 27 without loss.

Off-spinner Azeem Rafiq, replaced the out-of-form Adil Rashid, for his first Championship outing since last May, and wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy made way for Jonny Bairstow - who had been given permission to play by England.

Patterson shared the new ball with Ryan Sidebottom and in his third over dismissed Stephen Peters, who edged low to Phil Jaques at third slip.

Patterson struck again two overs later when he trapped former Yorkshire all-rounder James Middlebrook leg before wicket.

Starc got his chance when Sidebottom was rested and his fifth delivery comprehensively bowled Alex Wakely.

The Australian was then struck for three legside boundaries in one over by Rob White but quickly gained revenge by trapping him lbw, leaving Northamptonshire 35 for four.

The slide continued as Sidebottom returned to the attack and had Kyle Coetzer caught behind with a ball which held its line.

However, Hall and David Murphy teamed up move the visitors to 62 for five at lunch - and continued the revival in the afternoon.

Hall, after an uncharacteristically slow start, played Starc through midwicket for four and in the same over slashed a boundary to third man, but Murphy had an escape on 35 when the Australian had him put down by Adam Lyth low at second slip.

Murphy, having greeted Rafiq by driving his fifth ball for six, soon afterwards edged Sidebottom to Bairstow for 40 to end a 76-run stand in 27 overs with his captain.

Northamptonshire continued their fightback through Hall and Con de Lange although Hall, on 25, survived a chance when he slapped Patterson to midwicket - where Anthony McGrath could not hold on to the catch.

Hall’s fighting half-century came off 138 balls with seven boundaries but at 163 he lost de Lange, who was lbw on the back foot to McGrath.

The scoring accelerated with the arrival of David Willey until both departed quickly when the new ball was taken.

Hall was bowled attempting an expansive drive at Patterson for 79 from 179 deliveries with 10 fours and in the next over Willey fell lbw to Sidebottom after umpire Peter Hartley had spent a long time raising his finger.

Patterson pulled up with cramp in his 19th over and left the field for treatment and the innings was wrapped up by Rafiq, who bowled Oli Stone to claim his only victim.

Yorkshire began well with Lyth taking two boundaries from Willey’s opening over and the left-hander stood on 14 at the close with Joe Root seven.

Geoff Boycott, elected Yorkshire president in April, officially opened the club’s new shop next to the indoor school in St Michael’s Lane at Headingley during the lunch interval.

Later, Boycott once again stressed that Yorkshire’s main aim this season should be promotion to the First Division of the Championship.

He said: “I have no input but if you ask the club’s 7,000-8,000 members they will tell you that is what they want.

“The club made its name in producing winning Championship teams and high quality England players, including a lot of England captains.

“I like Twenty20 cricket but it is Championship and Test cricket which is a real test of character, courage and ability. County cricket is a great format and one that the members like.”

Boycott said he had every sympathy with Yorkshire members who were complaining that there would be no further home Championship matches for several weeks because of the Twenty20 programme.

He added: “Former players like myself think that it is a crazy system and we tell the ECB privately that we think that it is not good for cricket to make a month available for Twenty20 but it goes in one ear and out of the other.”