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The star-studded Roses clash Joe Root won for Yorkshire… with the ball

The Star-Studded Roses Clash Joe Root Won For Yorkshire With The Ball
Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 3 minute read

If anyone claims that the County Championship can’t produce high-end, high-quality clashes featuring the best players in the world, you need only point them to the 2018 Roses clash at Emirates Old Trafford.

The game between Lancashire and Yorkshire, one of cricket’s most storied rivalries, featured 12 Test cricketers across both sides, including eight Ashes winners and four players involved in the 2019 Cricket World Cup final. But on day one it was Jordan Clark, a seam-bowling all-rounder without a first-class five-for to his name, who stole the show.

His maiden five-wicket haul included one of cricket’s most impressive hat-tricks, with Joe Root (second in the ICC’s Test batting rankings at the time ) and Kane Williamson (third) trapped lbw before Jonny Bairstow (16th) nicked to the keeper. Statistician Andrew Samson tweeted that it was the first first-class hat-trick in which all three victims had more than 3,000 Test runs to their names.

Unsurprisingly, Clark described himself as “over the moon”. “I was basically just trying to bowl my best ball,” he told the Lancashire website. “Just try and repeat what I had done for the previous two balls. I wasn’t trying to over-complicate it.”

Yorkshire had slid from 59-1 to 59-4, and later found themselves 86-6, but the tail wagged to get them up near 200. Even then they would hardly have dreamed of claiming a lead nearing three figures, especially after Lancashire put on 46 for the first wicket. But Keaton Jennings (22) and Alex Davies (51) would remain two of only three single figure scores, with hat-trick hero Clark (15) the other as Yorkshire’s seamers shared the wickets around.

Despite low scores for Root, caught behind off James Anderson, and Williamson, who made 0 and 1 in the match, Bairstow’s rapid 82 left the Red Rose needing more than 300 to win the game. Thirties from each of the top three laid the platform and with Jos Buttler cruising past 50, Lancashire were 190-5 nearing stumps on the second day, needing another 133 to win and daring to dream.

It was at this point that Root’s decisive intervention came, with the ball rather than with the bat. First he dismissed England teammate Buttler, caught by Williamson – a top-class trio if ever there was one – before returning next morning to strike twice more in each of his next two overs.

Anderson and Tom Bailey kept Yorkshire at bay for a time, but the former was pinned in front by Steve Patterson, before one of England’s greatest batsmen dismissed one of England’s greatest bowlers to finish things off, Root finishing with stunning figures of 7.4-5-5-4, his best analysis in first-class cricket. The two specialist spinners in the game, future England leggie Matt Parkinson and Warwickshire loanee Josh Poysden, claimed just three scalps between them.

Root was, understandably, a little bemused by his own success. “I didn’t see it turning out quite like that if I’m being brutally honest,” he told BBC Radio Leeds. “It’s always nice starting against lower-order guys that aren’t in, so it was obviously quite enjoyable for me out there.

“It was nice to get one back on Jimmy (Anderson) after him getting me out. Jos was playing really well last night, it was quite an important wicket for us really so that one was probably the most pleasing of all in terms of the context of the game.”

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