Ballance ton message for England

Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance on his way to a century against Northants at Headingley
Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance on his way to a century against Northants at Headingley
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Gary Ballance sent a loud ‘pick me’ message to new England coach Peter Moores on the opening day of Yorkshire’s clash with Northamptonshire at Headingley.

Despite featuring at the end of the disastrous tour of Australia, Ballance’s place in the England side is not guaranteed but Moores will surely be keen to see more of him after his brilliant 188-ball 117.

In further good news for Moores, highly-rated prospect Alex Lees posted 90 as the pair put on 156 runs for the fourth wicket, a record between the sides at Headingley.

Allied to that, Joe Root took catches on the field at lunch as he prepares to come back from a fractured thumb.

International matters will not be on the mind of Yorkshire chief Jason Gillespie, though, who saw his side recover from 57 for three to close the day on 328 for seven, with six of their dismissals leg-before.

That was largely down to Ballance, who pushed through 5,000 first class runs during his knock, and Lees - regarded by Geoffrey Boycott as a better prospect than Root - who went through 1,000.

* Alastair Cook insists he and Moores will be free to forge a new England without undue influence from Andy Flower.

Moores, sacked from the same job in 2009, will join captain Cook in attempting to reinvigorate a side that has limped to the lowest of ebbs this winter.

The task is a sizeable one, with a raft of decorated senior players having exited the stage and a winter of dreadful results - including an Ashes whitewash - to put right.

Flower, having resigned from his role as team director, remains on the England and Wales Cricket Board’s payroll and enjoys good relations with both Cook and Moores:“Look, I think it’s going to be our team,” said Cook.

“When two (people) work together very well and they build something over a period of time how successful something can be if they’re on the same page.