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Yorkshire seal deal despite Liam Livingstone's wounded defiance

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Yorkshire 192 (Lyth 70, Clark 5-58) and 239 (Bairstow 82, Brook 55, Onions 3-44) beat Lancashire 109 (Davies 51, Coad 3-28) and 204 (Buttler 59, Root 4-5) by 118 runs

As it turned out, the resistance was not so much plucky as supine. Rather than go down with their magazines empty, Lancashire lost their last four wickets in 40 minutes on the third day at Emirates Old Trafford, leaving Yorkshire to celebrate a victory which takes them out of the relegation places in Division One. The only sign of courage on this heavy-clouded morning was shown when Tom Bailey was leg before to Steve Patterson, and Liam Livingstone came out to bat at No. 11 with his broken thumb and lower arm heavily protected.

Sadly for home supporters, some of whom never miss a ball of Lancashire’s season, the comparisons with Malcolm Marshall and Colin Cowdrey were short-lived. Livingstone was in the middle for perhaps two minutes, the time it took for James Anderson to face three of Joe Root’s offspinners before being bowled when aiming a terrific swipe across the line of the fourth. Indeed, it was the England captain who took most of the honours on the last morning of first-class cricket at Old Trafford this season before the ground is given over to a Liam Gallagher concert and preparing the outfield for next year’s World Cup.

Root’s fine morning began when he had Graham Onions caught by Bairstow off the first ball of the day, a wicket which fell at 10.59am according to Old Trafford’s digital clock. Having taken a wicket before play was due to start, Root then claimed his second four overs later when Matt Parkinson edged a catch to Adam Lyth at slip. His dismissal of Anderson thus completed a career-best haul of 4 for 5 and was also revenge for the indignity he had suffered at his Test colleague’s hands 24 hours previously. Fortunately, however, Root neither held up the ball to the sparse crowd as he walked off the outfield nor did he drop it by way of celebration. Those days are behind him.

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Lancashire’s day got worse when they had a point deducted for a slow over rate and Livingstone’s team are now one point ahead of eighth-placed Hampshire having played a game more. The morning had begun on a more cheerful note when Keaton Jennings, Jos Buttler and Dane Vilas were awarded their county caps (although old-school professionals may note the trio had played a total of 51 first-class games before being honoured.) But it was no surprise the coaches called a players’ meeting immediately after the Roses match.

Yet by the time Lancashire’s players were discussing what was going wrong with their championship season Yorkshire’s supporters were on their way home, perhaps reflecting that their team had not lost at Old Trafford since 2000 and had not been defeated in a first-class Roses match anywhere since 2011.

And let us be grateful these things still matter on both sides of the Pennines. At the end of one of the most incident-packed Roses matches it is worth reflecting that each game is both a contest in itself and another episode in one of cricket’s richest narratives. The fact that there are now five Lancashire v Yorkshire matches in all formats each season has done nothing to diminish the importance of the four-day stuff among true believers. Had Yorkshire completed their victory on Monday it would have been the first two-day finish in a Roses match since 1988. Their win at Old Trafford was their 26th on the ground since 1890; Lancashire have recorded 16. Never think players or supporters do not know these records or that they do not care about them. In 20 summers’ time people will be talking about the morning Rooty skittled Lancs.

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