Hampshire struggled to keep wickets in hand on Day Two of their LV County Championship clash with Yorkshire at Headingley after Jack Leaning’s 82 helped the home side post 370 in their first innings.
Yorkshire batted for an hour in the morning session, adding 37 to their overnight score of 333. James Tomlinson pushed a ball across Tim Bresnan who could only guide a thick edge to Will Smith, who took an excellent diving catch at third slip. Leaning was out lbw also to Tomlinson, and when Jack Brooks fended at a bouncer from Fidel Edwards and Lewis McManus sprang forward to pouch it, Steven Patterson was left stranded on 17*
Speaking after play on Sunday, Jonny Bairstow was full of praise for his young colleague: “It’s really good to see another product of the academy coming through and making a statement into the first team. We saw how important and vital those runs were he scored last year, and he seems to have come on again and is making bigger contributions.”
Leaning has now scored more runs after 20 Championship innings than Root, Ballance, Bairstow, Lyth and Lees had at the same point. Everything about his career to date points towards a bright international future.
Hampshire were shaky at the start of their reply, with Liam Dawson offering two relatively simple chances in the slips but was put down by Leaning and Adam Lyth. Bresnan made the breakthrough by dismissing Sean Terry lbw, and there was another nervy moment when Yorkshire missed an opportunity to run Dawson out shortly after he was joined by Michael Carberry.
Carberry can, on occasions, seem like a batting robot: his blocking is authoritative, his driving strong, and he throws his hands firmly and reliably at any wide deliveries. He was everything that Hampshire needed with the deficit well beyond 350, and he helped relieve the pressure on Dawson as well. Carberry helped them past the 50 partnership mark with a crashing cut.
He welcomed Adil Rashid back to English cricket by driving the leg-spinner’s second ball for four to bring up his 12,000th first-class run. Leaning atoned for his earlier mistake by holding on to Dawson in the slips off Will Rhodes.
Dawson and Carberry had manoeuvred Hampshire into a relatively good position, but Jack Brooks struck twice in two balls to change the complexion of the match. James Vince offered no shot and was out lbw, and then Will Smith failed to get his bat out of the way of a short ball and Lyth took the catch at head height. Sean Ervine defended the hat-trick ball off the back foot, but Brooks had dealt Hampshire’s hopes a significant blow.
The pattern of a big partnership being followed by two quick wickets was repeated, as Carberry and Ervine rebuilt and put on 86 runs for the fifth wicket. Carberry was caught on the deep midwicket boundary going for his century with an audacious sweep off Rashid, and an over later Ervine threw his own wicket away, pulling Brooks tamely to fine leg.
Gareth Berg and the debutant McManus were batting watchfully for stumps until Rashid tempted the edge of Berg’s bat. McManus was joined by Andre Adams, a man wholly unfamiliar with the concept of playing for stumps. He slogged at his third ball, but it fell between two fielders. His fourth ball was deposited over long-on for six to take Hampshire past the follow-on score, and he was out two balls later scooping Rashid into the air, where he was taken by Andrew Gale at point.
Hampshire’s habit of losing wickets in clusters has put them in a very difficult position against a reinvigorated Yorkshire side. At this stage, there only looks to be one winner.