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Page last updated at 17:14 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 18:14 UK

Yorkshire openers lay foundations for big first innings

CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY ONE Yorkshire 304-2 v Durham
Yorkshire 3 pts
Match scorecard

Will Smith and Phil Mustard celebrate the dismissal of Joe Sayers
Durham skipper Will Smith and wicketkeeper Phil Mustard appeal for the wicket of Yorkshire opener Joe Sayers

Championship leaders Yorkshire laid the foundations for a huge first innings total against Durham at Headingley.

Tykes openers Adam Lyth and Joe Sayers put on 146 for the first wicket against a badly-weakened Durham attack.

On a dry pitch, left-arm spinner Ian Blackwell had Lyth caught at slip for 85 and Sayers at short leg for 63.

But Anthony McGrath and Jacques Rudolph continued where the younger men had left off, both registering big half centuries as Yorkshire closed on 304-2.

It was Yorkshire's highest first-wicket partnership against Durham - just the start that captain Andrew Gale was looking for after winning the toss in ideal batting conditions.

Lyth's innings was packed with glorious shots through the covers. But both he and Sayers have now registered half centuries in each of the county's first four Championship matches without making it into three figures.

Already without the injured Steve Harmison and Graham Onions, the visitors suffered another blow before the game began when seamer Callum Thorp had to pull out with a leg strain, his place going to leg-spinner Scott Borthwick.

Mark Davies and Championship debutant Chris Rushworth shared the new ball for the champions, but Lyth dashed to his 50 from 74 balls with 11 boundaries of the highest quality.

Sayers moved rather more sedately to his 50 off 109 balls with three fours.

Blackwell broke the opening stand when Lyth jabbed a low catch to Michael Di Venuto at slip after facing 125 balls and hitting 16 boundaries.

Blackwell struck again by getting a ball to balloon off Sayers' bat and pad to Karl Coetzer at short-leg.

The dismissals were merely a blip on Yorkshire's progress, however, as McGrath and Rudolph assumed control on their way to a century stand of their own for the third wicket.

Former captain Rudolph was first to his 50 off 110 balls, McGrath following him to the landmark off 147 balls.

Rudolph has now scored half centuries in consecutive innings after failing to record one in the Championship since early last June.

By the close, McGrath and Rudolph had added 131 together, McGrath having made 73, with 10 fours, and Rudolph 68, including a dozen boundaries.

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