Richard Pyrah produced Headingley heroics worthy of Ian Botham as he batted Yorkshire back into their Roses clash with Lancashire in the LV= County Championship.
Exactly 30 years on from England’s Botham-inspired epic Ashes victory in Leeds, Pyrah performed similar heroics on day two of the domestic clash. Coming in at 44 for seven, with the Yorkshire innings in shreds, 28-year-old Pyrah plundered his maiden Championship century before being last out for 117 at 239, when Lancashire’s lead had been reduced to 89.
But Pyrah did not have the limelight all to himself because he was nobly assisted in a record-breaking ninth-wicket stand of 154 in 30 overs by Ryan Sidebottom, who contributed 52. Then, in a final twist to a remarkable day, Tim Bresnan, having been released from England’s Test squad at Lord’s, removed openers Paul Horton and Stephen Moore to leave Lancashire on 33 for three, for a lead of 122.
Yorkshire’s comeback followed a dynamic new-ball spell by Kyle Hogg who blasted out the first five batsmen in seven hostile overs at a cost of just 21 runs.
He had Yorkshire reeling on 40 for six at lunch and it soon became 45 for eight as Ajmal Shahzad and Anthony McGrath fell in consecutive overs from Sajid Mahmood.
Against all expectations, Pyrah then launched a violent counter-attack, picking up Tom Smith for six over mid-wicket and playing him off his legs for four to raise the team’s fifty before smashing three boundaries in an over off Mahmood.