Vince and Ervine make life difficult for Yorkshire

Centuries from James Vince and Sean Ervine provided bumps in the road for champions Yorkshire as the White Rose’s hopes of kick-starting their Specsavers County Championship season with an opening victory faded at Headingley.

Yorkshire’s mammoth 593 for nine declared left them with two-and-a-half days to bowl out the visitors twice, and get their bid for a third successive Division One title up and running.

But after one-and-a-half of them, the home attack was off the required pace as Vince and Ervine, with 119 and 123 respectively, extended the rearguard to 450 for eight.

Yorkshire mustered only the wicket of the Hampshire captain in the first two sessions, their toil under sunny skies and on a docile pitch culminating in the sight before tea of occasional spinners Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance bowling briefly in tandem.

By then, the heavyweight attack which racked up 45 bowling points out of 48 last summer had already dropped the first of the new season.

Vince had done much of his hardest work on the way to 76 the night before, and cashed in on a deserved 18th first-class hundred – in front of appreciative National Selector James Whitaker. 

There was more at stake, of course, than Vince’s Test aspirations when he and Ervine resumed on a highly-vulnerable 141 for five – with the follow-on target of 444 a distant notion. 

Vince began by driving the first ball of the morning for four off Jack Brooks, an accurate portent for much of the remaining action.  

It featured great determination from Ervine – who needed a five-minute time-out, pain-killers and then an x-ray at stumps after taking a blow on the left hand from Liam Plunkett when he had just 20 to his name. 

Vince had hit 16 boundaries by the time he lined up no shot to a predicted outswinger and had to go lbw when instead Steve Patterson slanted one in. 

Plunkett ensured most discomfort in an aggressive six-over morning spell from round the wicket, but the nearest he came was when Ervine propped one just in front of short-leg on 22 – with captain Andrew Gale marginally on his heels. 

Yorkshire were therefore soon pinning plenty of hopes on the second new ball, either side of lunch. It was to no avail, with conditions vastly in the batsmen’s favour. 

After their own chastening experience in the field at the hands of three Yorkshire centurions, Hampshire were in no mood to pass up the opportunity. 

Adam Wheater contributed 62 runs and a further 47.2 overs of support for Ervine, in a partnership of 143, before he chipped Patterson tamely to midwicket.

Yet still Yorkshire’s progress stalled.

Ervine reached three figures from 205 balls, and appeared set to close out the day with minimal alarm until Ryan Sidebottom, with 3-78, found the edge behind to keep the follow-on temporarily in the equation.

The Zimbabwean was the 1,000th wicket of Sidebottom’s career, across all formats, putting him in rare company on a day when Yorkshire had little else to celebrate – especially after an unbroken stand of 59 between half-centurion Ryan McLaren and Chris Wood.  

Yorkshire first-team coach Jason Gillespie was full of praise for Hampshire’s batting performance.

“I must give Hampshire a lot of credit for the way they played,” the Australian said.

“It will be a lot tougher for us now that they have saved the follow-on and it has made a result a little bit more difficult.

“First and foremost we have to get these last two wickets and then see where we are later in the day.

“I thought Vince played very well and all credit to Ervine for gutsing it out. Vince is a quality player and both his driving and the way he left the ball was very good.”

Ervine said the injury had caused a cut to his left-index finger and he suspected that it may be cracked. He will have an x-ray on his return to Southampton.

Source: ECB

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