Glamorgan 330 (van der Gugten 85*, Hogan 54) and 68 for 4 lead Yorkshire 193 (Lyth 52, Taylor 2-16) by 205 runs
Joe Root must have spent the past couple of months feeling like the little boy who tried to stave off disaster by sticking his finger in the dike. England in India one moment, Yorkshire at Headingley the next. All around him has been calamity.
Yorkshire's belief that they are Championship challengers lay in tatters at tea on the second day when they conceded a 137-run first-innings lead to Glamorgan, whose only Championship win at Headingley came in 1999. Glamorgan then faltered second time around, closing at 68 for 4 thanks to three new-ball wickets from the ever-productive Ben Coad, but a lead of 205 still leaves them with a 50-50 chance.
The first Championship match between the Root brothers has been much closer than many imagined, and it would be no surprise if one or the other still has a major influence on it. Billy, 25 not out at the close, has the first opportunity to fashion the contest to his liking, but he survived by the smallest of margins when he missed a late cut against Joe in the final over of the day.
Life was going splendidly for Joe Root when he struck 228 and 186 in successive Tests in Galle and followed up with 218 in Chennai. Here was a batsman in total command of his game, heading towards a Test average of 50-plus that would rightly confirm him as one of the finest players of his generation.
Then came wretchedness in three spin-dominated Tests in Chennai and Ahmedabad and, even though England's captain looked the likeliest to resist, he failed to reach fifty in seven attempts. Back at Headingley, dutifully turning out for Yorkshire in the first two Championship matches of the summer, he scratched around for 16 in 59 balls before Glamorgan added to his woes.
Root commands great respect in Yorkshire for the way he takes his county appearances seriously. In his last stint in 2019, against Nottinghamshire and Hampshire, he made 297 runs and was only out twice, although his satisfaction was tempered when Stuart Broad struck him on the head. The man from the Yorkshire Post compared his bravery to the indomitable Brian Close only to read the paper the next day and find that the subs had subsequently confused Close with "the legendary football manager" Brian Clough.
Against Glamorgan, on a sunny, yet bone-chilling day, he determinedly set about batting himself into a semblance of form, only for a low full toss from Callum Taylor finally to tempt him into a miscued hit down the ground that was claimed at long-off by Dan Douthwaite. To avoid further confusion, that is Callum Taylor the Glamorgan offspinner, not the recently released Southend United goalkeeper.
The languid off-driven four against Michael Hogan that got Root off the mark augered well, but his only other boundary came when he edged Taylor wide of the slips in the over before the spinner dismissed him in what was only his third first-class wicket. He even had to withstand an exploratory two overs of offspin from his younger brother, which almost had him lbw on the sweep on 4, the subject perhaps of a light-hearted exchange moments later. Billy's introduction was a worthwhile gambit by Glamorgan's captain, Chris Cooke, and the dynamics were interesting enough to have let it run a couple of overs longer.
The evergreen Michael Hogan unhinged Yorkshire's top order, defeating Tom Kohler-Cadmore's booming off-drive and then bowling Tom Loten for nought; Loten, playing only his fourth first-class innings, has a wide-legged, open, baseball stance that is not exactly easy on the eye. He was only in the side because Gary Ballance had been injured in the nets by none other than Merlin, the spin bowling machine, which presumably now bowls a dangerous quicker one.
The most cultured innings was Harry Brook's. His sculptured strokeplay and slightly stiff movements are reminiscent of Michael Vaughan, and if he can tighten his defence he will one day be knocking on England's door. He was a long way back and across when he fell lbw to David Lloyd. Dom Bess, charged with developing into an allrounder at No. 7, edged through the slips on nought, but shepherded Yorkshire past the follow-on with an unbeaten 38.
That Yorkshire still have a whiff of victory owes much to Coad. Over the past 10 years, he has the lowest average of any English bowler to have taken 30 wickets in first-class cricket. Perfect outswingers sent back Nick Selman and Kiran Carlson and Brook pulled off a fast catch to his right at third slip to account for Andy Balbirnie. England may never look at him because he bowls in the low-80s mph, but he is a hugely effective county bowler.
All to play for then when the third day resumes. Sunny. 5C.