Day one of the crucial County Championship clash between Durham and Yorkshire at The Riverside ended with Yorkshire in the driving seat as they amassed 299-3 by the close of play.
Yorkshire started the game without England players Joe Root and Gary Ballance but still had a strong batting unit coupled with a pace attack that is looking like one of the strongest in the competition. Durham included Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara in their line-up for his debut.
In their last game Yorkshire were only thwarted by a Chris Rogers inspired Middlesex as he foiled Yorkshire in their bid to go top of the table. Durham meanwhile are fresh from a week off. Yorkshire are in fourth place in Division 1 whilst Durham lie in eighth after two draws so far this season.
This game's outcome could be crucial at the end of the season as both teams appear capable of challenging for the title again this season. Last season saw Durham pip Yorkshire to the title.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat first, Yorkshire started steadily in conditions that were considered helpful to bowlers. Most onlookers considered Andrew Gale's decision to bat first to be a bold decision but, despite the loss of opener Alex Lees (9) caught behind off Jamie Harrison, fellow opener Adam Lyth and New Zealander Kane Williamson negotiated the Durham bowling attack comfortably in the first session.
After lunch Lyth and Williamson continued their partnership to give Yorkshire the upper hand. Adam Lyth, who has impressed so far this season, completed his first century of the year before departing with the score on 208. Lyth has started the season well with three half centuries and now a century in six innings. Could he be in contention for International honours at some stage this year.
Unfortunately for Williamson he was unable to repeat Lyth's century as he fell for 97, to the bowling of Chris Rushworth, with the score on 257-3.
However, Yorkshire continued to press home their advantage as captain Andrew Gale (35) and England hopeful Jonny Bairstow (22) negotiated the final overs without the loss of any further wickets.
Day two already looks set to be a crucial day in this game as Yorkshire will hope to amass a huge first innings score whilst Durham will want to make some early inroads into the Yorkshire batting line-up as they look to wrestle back the initiative.
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