The swifts darted over the tram lines for the 221st Roses Championship match, and in the car park a man carefully folded his jacket over his arm and picked up his picnic bag. The crowds were back at Old Trafford for the first time in 617 days and, what’s more, the sun obliged, a distant heat haze rippling over the Manchester skyscrapers.
Yorkshire, who won the toss and chose to bat, took the opportunity to flirt with a record – their lowest ever total at Old Trafford. At 21 for six, and 40 for seven, 51 looked a stretch, with Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood and Tom Bailey in particular bowling searching spells. Bailey’s figures were a parsimonious 14-11-6-3.
But Yorkshire had a gem in Harry Duke, the 19-year old wicketkeeper playing in only his second first-class match, and who had collected a golden duck in his one previous innings. From nervous bolter walking out at 21 for 5, he found his mojo and, full of youthful vim, stroked the ball simply and through the covers. He and Steven Patterson, all elbows and knees, put on 77 for the 10th wicket before Ben Coad and Duanne Olivier thrashed about to take the total over 150.
Alex Davies then teed off from the start, reaching his 50 to a happy crescendo of applause before tickling Olivier behind for 52. Jennings and Wells played out till the close, with just under 2,000 people watching Dom Bess twirling in from the Brian Statham End and revelling in Lancashire’s day.
Sixteen wickets fell at The Riverside as both Essex and Durham suffered batting malfunctions. First, Essex lost five wickets for three runs after Michael Pepper was out for 92, as Durham hoovered up their tail. Durham, in turn, collapsed to 58 for six post-tea, five of them lbw.
Northamptonshire’s Ben Sanderson filched five wickets at Hove for the third time in the past four innings, though it could not prevent a Sussex fightback. They had been in deep trouble at 67 for eight, before Jack Carson and Henry Crocombe tickled 99 for the ninth wicket. Facing 175, Northants then lost four wickets by the close.
Three wickets for Leicestershire’s Callum Parkinson, including two in two balls, failed to pin Middlesex down as a seventh-wicket stand of 90 between John Simpson and Luke Hollman took them to respectability at stumps.
A steady day at Edgbaston, led by 91 from Warwickshire’s Will Rhodes at the top of the order, was hijacked by Dane Paterson who snatched three wickets for Nottinghamshire in evening sunshine; while the England Under-19 batsman Jack Haynes hit a career best 97 for Worcestershire against Derbyshire at New Road before being caught on the boundary. Hashim Amla, leading Surrey for the first time, made an unbeaten century against Gloucestershire, and received a standing ovation from the Oval crowd.