Hampshire 58 for 5 (Coad 5-18) trail Yorkshire 273 (Ballance 120, Edwards 3-58) by 215 runs
Gary Ballance must have imagined that life could not have got any better after he adorned his first day of Championship cricket since he was appointed as Yorkshire’s captain with a redoubtable hundred in exacting circumstances.
By the close of a thoroughly satisfying day, however, a largely unknown fast bowler had thrust his way to prominence. Ben Coad, a 23-year-old quick from Harrogate, cleaned up Hampshire’s top order in only his second Championship match with 5 for 18 in eight overs that insisted he might have come of age.
Ballance had suggested that he would lead by example, with less of the up-and-at-’em exhortations favoured by his predecessor Andrew Gale, who has now been elevated to first-team coach. His 120 from 190 balls, which guided Yorkshire to 273 from the perils of 152 for 7, certainly did that. There was even a glancing blow on the helmet from Fidel Edwards on the way which he waved aside as just one of those things.
Those who observed Ballance’s careworn England displays as his Test career began to unravel would barely have recognised the smooth square-of-the-wicket strokeplay much in evidence here. The crab-like scuttles back into his crease were replaced by authoritative tucks and drives and when he departed after tea, bowled through the gate by the left-arm spinner Liam Dawson, he received throaty roars of approval.
The best, though, was yet to come. There is little more exciting in county cricket than the emergence of a young fast bowler on a sunlit evening. Coad, in only his fourth first-class match, has clearly kicked on, sprinting in and hitting the pitch aggressively with a fast arm action that was a touch reminiscent of Brydon Carse’s zippy intervention for Durham last season. Yorkshire have encouraged him to be a more attacking bowler and it has paid off handsomely.
Considering that Yorkshire were lacking five frontline seam bowlers, as well as the leg spin of Adil Rashid, his intervention could not have been better time. At 1100, Yorkshire spectators were pessimistically discussing sparse resources. By 1830, they were wondering who on earth would be left out in the weeks ahead.
Jimmy Adams fell lbw in his first over and James Vince chipped him to short midwicket in his next before he had Michael Carberry, who was making a heartening return after treatment for cancer, caught at third slip and Sean Ervine at mid-off. He rounded off by having Rilee Rossouw lbw, shouldering arms. The only Hampshire batsman to benefit was Tom Alsop, a controversial omission after a decent England Lions of Sri Lanka that deserved to be better rewarded.
It is tempting to remark that this was the shoddy batting display of a relegated side which only regained its Division One status because Durham were later sent down in their place because of financial irregularities, but there was enough sheen in Coad’s display to reserve judgment on that.
Ballance’s hundred had felt like a holding operation when Yorkshire lost five wickets for 42 in 10 overs after lunch. The top three all made starts but Edwards hit the stumps three times, the most surprising when he bowled the upright Australian Peter Handscomb, who until then had looked untroubled; the most spectacular coming later when he yorked Tim Bresnan for nought.
Two more wickets quickly followed as Kyle Abott caused Andrew Hodd to fend into the slips and nipped one away to bowl Azeem Rafiq. Ballance found a stubborn partner in Steve Patterson in a recovery operation of 106 in 27 overs for the eighth wicket.
David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps
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