PETER HANDSCOMB made his highest score for Yorkshire and Gary Ballance continued his excellent start to the season as Yorkshire made it two wins out of two in the Royal London Cup.
Handscomb hit 86 and Ballance 85 as Yorkshire scored 296-9 from their 50 overs after being sent into bat in cloudy weather that later gave way to glorious sunshine.
It was a competitive score by the home side, but they had been eyeing well in excess of 300 when Handscomb fell at 230-3 in the 38th over.
However, it was enough to see off Lancashire in the first one-day match between the counties at Headingley since 2008, the visitors dismissed for 217 with 6.4 overs remaining as Azeem Rafiq (4-47) and Adil Rashid (2-34) helped close out a 79-run win.
“It was a pretty good performance all round,” said Yorkshire’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon. “We didn’t quite get as many runs as we could have done, but we still felt that 290 was a good score if we bowled well, and we did bowl well.
“Adil was outstanding and showed his value to the team and what he’s capable of, and Azeem picked up four wickets at a time when the batsmen were looking to try and attack.
“As for the batting, Peter Handscomb is hopefully coming into a rich vein of form, while Gary is continuing his fine form of the season so far.”
Unchanged after their seven-wicket win over Notts at Trent Bridge, Yorkshire began well in conditions so gloomy that the floodlights were pressed into action before midday.
Adam Lyth cover-drove Tom Bailey for four with typical flourish, while opening partner Jonny Bairstow struck two successive sixes off the same bowler.
First, Bairstow pulled a long-hop into the dark blue seats of the deserted West Stand. Then, he picked up a delivery off his legs and sent it soaring over backward square-leg, drawing loud applause from the 5,000 crowd.
We didn’t quite get as many runs as we could have done, but we still felt that 290 was a good score if we bowled well, and we did bowl well.Yorkshire director of cricket, Martyn Moxon.
Lyth got in on the act by launching England pace bowler James Anderson for six over long-on towards the Football Stand.
But the opening stand was broken at 48 in the 10th over when Bairstow, driving at pace bowler Ryan McLaren’s first ball, got an inside edge to wicketkeeper Alex Davies, ending an innings of 28 from 29 deliveries.
Joe Root survived a first-ball lbw shout from McLaren before getting off the mark with an uppish cover-driven four off Bailey. Next ball, the England Test captain drove Bailey much more authoritatively to the same boundary as Yorkshire reached 56 after 10 overs.
As with Bairstow, neither Lyth nor Root were able to go on, Lyth nibbling at one from McLaren and being caught behind for 30, and Root (21) cutting McLaren to Dane Vilas at backward-point.
It left Yorkshire 87-3 in the 18th over, and the hosts needed overseas star Handscomb and captain Ballance to stabilise the innings on a decent surface.
This they did with considerable aplomb, initially ticking things over as Yorkshire reached 125-3 at halfway. The batsmen matched each other stride for stride, Handscomb advancing to a 57-ball half-century with five fours, and Ballance getting to the same landmark from 51 deliveries with identical boundaries.
Slowly but surely, runs started to flow as Ballance paddled Anderson for six and Handscomb lofted Luke Procter for one maximum over mid-wicket and then another over extra-cover.
But in trying for a third six in Procter’s over, Handscomb was caught by Anderson at deep mid-wicket having faced 78 balls and eclipsed his previous best for the club of 75 in the Championship game away to Warwickshire.
It ended a stand of 143 in 20 overs with Ballance, who is the Championship’s leading scorer with 508 in three matches.
That total includes three hundreds, and another one looked in the offing only for Ballance to perish lbw trying to reverse-sweep spinner Stephen Parry.
Ballance’s departure followed those of Tim Bresnan and David Willey, who were both held at mid-wicket.
Rashid was trapped lbw by Parry and Liam Plunkett run-out as Yorkshire lost their last five wickets for 20 runs in 27 balls.
Bresnan pounced early in Lancashire’s reply, bowling Procter off an inside edge, and Haseeb Hameed was well caught by Plunkett off Matthew Fisher.
Rashid deceived Davies with a googly and fellow spinner Rafiq struck with his second ball when Karl Brown lofted to Handscomb at mid-off. Once the dangerous Liam Livingstone was bowled by another Rashid googly, leaving Lancashire 133-5 in the 29th, the game was up.
Rafiq had McLaren held by Lyth at long-off; Willey removed Vilas with the aid of a fine catch at mid-on by Fisher; Bailey was caught at third-man by Rafiq off Willey; Clark hit Rafiq to Handscomb at deep mid-wicket, and the innings ended when Parry was caught at short third-man by Rashid off Rafiq.