Hampshire were without most of their bowlers yesterday - perhaps it was the presence of the indestructible Corky that made them decide to field first on the hottest day of the year. Or perhaps they just thought that Yorkshire might be freaked out by the fact that the sky had turned a weird colour and would roll over. Who knows?
Either way, it brought to the crease the cult opening pair in English cricket, testosterone-soaked leading run scorer Adam Lyth, and Joe Sayers, a man the waspish Hopps described yesterday as 'the perfect batsman for the pre-lunch session when all you want to do is flick through the paper'.
Lyth got 26 in the first two overs, had fifty after 12, at which point Sayers had made three. When Lyth brought up the Yorkshire hundred, Sayers had advanced to nine. When Lyth was out for a kick-ass 133, he and Sayers had put on 195, of which the latter had made 49. Heroically, Sayers then made none of the 14 he put on with Anthony McGrath, before he was second out, having batted for 251 minutes and with a strike rate of 27.68.
He was cheered by Yorkshire's fans, who are now absorbed by this unfolding career - Sayers first class strike rate is 38.23, rising to a heady 59.35 in List A games and 81.81 in T20. Sayers though has the single-mindedness to know that these are just stats. He bats his way, and that takes strength of purpose.
The Headingley crowd used to love to tease Boycott ['you've got seven, Geoffrey - seven'], and now they have Sayers. Long may he reign: in an era of batting madness, he's a reminder of how things used to be.