Tom Smith put the disappointment of being left out of last week's LV= County Championship team behind him by scoring a superb 89 for Lancashire during today's final day of their three-day friendly against Yorkshire at Headingley.
The 27-year-old all-rounder was an early victim of the increased competition for places within the Red Rose squad, and had to sit out last week’s draw against Worcestershire.
But he has given coach Peter Moores plenty of food for thought ahead of next week’s clash with Kent at Emirates Old Trafford thanks to his 116-ball knock, including 14 fours and a six over long-on off the leg-spin of Adil Rashid.
Smith was particularly strong on the drive - he hit two arrow-straight down the ground off Liam Plunkett on the way to a 79-ball fifty before lunch - and also on the reverse sweep against Rashid afterwards.
He and Karl Brown, who also impressed during his fluent 45, shared 105 for the second wicket before the former was caught at cover when he top-edged a pull to hand Tim Bresnan a second wicket.
Despite what had happened during the first two days of this match, it had been agreed that both teams would bat for 45 overs each today. Lancashire, who scored 269-7 declared in their first innings, declared their second on 163-3.
Yorkshire then responded with 164-7, with Oliver Newby, Stephen Parry and Simon Kerrigan all taking two wickets each.
Lancashire 1st innings 269-7 dec (87 overs) Procter 5, Horton 25, Brown 32, Moore 8, Croft 35, Cross 2, Smith 24, White 62*, Hogg 69*. Brooks 2-20, Plunkett 2-45.
Yorkshire 1st innings 381-8 dec (87 overs) Root 11, Lyth 14, Gale 4, Jaques 14, Ballance 12, Bairstow 131 (retired), Rashid 103 (retired), Rafiq 20, Bresnan 46*, Plunkett 5*, Hogg 2-47, Newby 2-32, Parry 1-52.
Lancashire 2nd innnings 163-6 dec (44 overs) Smith 89, Brown 45*, Moore 22, Croft, Cross 3*
Yorkshire 2nd innings 164-7 Jacques 56, Lyth 28
Moores said: “Tom showed again in this game what a good cricketer he is. He gets a bit on the ball and batted really nicely.
“There are some tough decisions to be made, and it’s a good place to be. Me and Glen (Chapple) will now sit down and have a chat and start to decide the side we go in with. Between now and next Wednesday, we’re going to have to come up with eleven names!”
After an opening stand of 47, Stephen Moore was Bresnan’s first wicket when he edged to Plunkett low down at fourth slip for 22.
While Brown took three fours off one Steve Patterson over - one driven through the covers, one whipped through mid-wicket and the other to third-man - Smith advanced to Rashid and hammered him over the long-on fence for six. He later reverse swept the leg-spinner for a couple of boundaries.
Smith, who hit a 40-over ton in Dubai last month, departed 11 runs short of his second friendly ton this year when he top-edged a pull of Bresnan to Joe Root at cover.
Steven Croft was Lancashire’s third wicket to fall when he chopped on to Rashid before the declaration came.
Yorkshire’s innings was similar to Lancashire’s in that they scored runs freely, despite the early loss of Adam Lyth caught at point off seamer Adnan Ghaus, who played second XI cricket for the county last summer and has spent the winter training with the senior squad in the Old Trafford nets.
Newby then trapped Root lbw and bowled Andrew Gale off an inside edge before former Australian Test player Phil Jaques brought up a half-century.
However, he was the first of four wickets to fall for just two runs in the latter stages of the day. He was caught at deep mid-wicket by Smith trying to sweep Parry before Smith superbly caught Plunkett over his shoulder running back from mid-wicket off Kerrigan.
Bresnan then holed out to Newby at mid-off to hand Parry his second wicket before play ended when Kerrigan trapped Patterson lbw.
Moores added: “It was really good practice because there was enough on the game. You had a lot of good cricketers out there. In some ways, for both sides, it was about players vying for places in their first teams.
“Both sides played it right. It was difficult to manufacture a competitive game in some ways, but the cricket was competitive all the way through. The whole idea of this was to help us get ready for next week.”
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh