Yorkshire fall flat on return to top flight

Yorkshire Cricket logo Photo: ITV Yorkshire

Yorkshire's 150th anniversary celebrations got off to a cheerless start on the first day of the LV= County Championship season at Headingley where they were bowled out for 96 by rampant Sussex.

The chief destroyer was Surrey discard, Chris Jordan, who returned his Championship-best figures of six for 48 after joining Sussex at the end of last season.

The new campaign also marked Yorkshire's return to the first division of the four-day competition but their miserly total was the lowest they have ever recorded against Sussex at Headingley, their previous worst being 111 in 1893 in a game which they went on to win by four wickets.

Sussex's three-man pace attack were duly rewarded for bowling a nagging length on a pitch which aided the seamers from the start and James Anyon and Steve Magoffin fully deserved the two wickets they each picked up, but it was the extra pace of Jordan which inflicted the most damage.

Bowled out in 46.1 overs, Yorkshire had an early success of their own but they then came up against the flashing blade of Chris Nash and when bad light ended play with 19 overs remaining Sussex were 104 for three and leading by eight runs - all the wickets having fallen to Ryan Sidebottom.

Put in to bat on a crisp morning of hazy sunshine, Yorkshire gave club Championship debuts to fast bowlers Liam Plunkett, signed from Durham, and Jack Brooks, from Northamptonshire.

Opening batsman Alex Lees, a century-maker against Leeds-Bradford MCCU last week, also made his first Championship appearance, coming in for England batsman, Joe Root, who has had to sit out the first game.

Survival was a constant struggle for Yorkshire against well-disciplined bowling and it was the 19th delivery before Lees got the score moving by leg-glancing Magoffin for a single.

Only four had been scored by the seventh over when Adam Lyth chopped Anyon into his stumps and five runs later Phil Jaques was lbw to a full-length ball from Magoffin.

Jordan replaced Magoffin at the Kirkstall Lane end and his second ball was a rising legside delivery which skipper Andrew Gale feathered into the gloves of wicketkeeper Ben Brown to give him the first of four catches.

Yorkshire were 11 for three and the game was 70 minutes old before the patient Lees registered the first boundary by off-driving Jordan to the rope.

Anyon was rested with the splendid figures of 10-6-5-1 but Jordan struck at the other end as Lees, having scraped together six from 51 deliveries, chased a wide one and was caught by Brown diving to his left.

Jonny Bairstow took consecutive boundaries off Jordan to see Yorkshire to 40 for four at lunch but early in the afternoon he attempted to hit a ball from Anyon through square leg and only succeeded in gloving a catch to Brown.

Gary Ballance offered some resistance until a fine delivery from Jordan found the edge of a defensive bat and the same bowler had little difficulty in scything his was through the tail with four consecutive dismissals.

He even had a hand in the last wicket, catching Azeem Rafiq at first slip off Magoffin.

Sidebottom soon made the home fans feel more comfortable by trapping Luke Wells lbw as he pushed forward but Nash quickly put Sussex in charge again with the most positive strokes of the day and Brooks was made to bear the brunt of the assault, the opener smacking him for five boundaries off seven balls.

Nash dashed to his half-century out of 58 for one before Sidebottom returned to inflict further damage, first drifting one away from Mike Yardy to have him caught behind by Bairstow and then accounting for Nash in similar fashion for 80 off 87 balls with 13 boundaries.

Sussex were now 104 for three but Rory Hamilton-Brown, on his return to the county from Surrey, had no sooner got to the crease than it became too dark to continue.