Record-breaking former Somerset batting partners James Hildreth and Nick Compton were briefly reunited this afternoon in a 45-run stand for the MCC against Yorkshire in the Champion County match in Abu Dhabi.
Compton, who left Somerset for Middlesex during the winter, top scored in the MCC’s second innings with 74, while Hildreth fell one run short of what would have been his second half-century of the match.
The MCC side resumed on this third day of the annual season curtain-raiser on 13-0 after Yorkshire were finally dismissed last night on 372, giving them a first innings lead of 151. That lead was in no small part down to Adam Lyth who made a commanding 113 under the watchful eye of England captain Alistair Cook at slip.
MCC needed to build some big partnerships of their own today to get themselves back into the game, but lost Cook (5) cheaply for the second time. Michael Carberry joined Compton and the pair took the score onto 80 before the Hampshire opener was picked up by Lyth for 23.
Hildreth, who top scored with 89 on the first day on Sunday, came together with Compton and the pair steadied the nerves in the MCC dressing room with a partnership worth 45 in almost 19 overs.
Compton and Hildreth have been used to building big partnerships for Somerset over the past five seasons, setting a county record for any wicket with their unbroken stand of 450 against Cardiff MCCU in 2012. The opposition attack today was of course considerably stronger and MCC were eventually dismissed for 220, one run less than they managed in their first innings on Sunday.
MCC skipper Compton was caught behind off debutant Will Rhodes for a fine 74 (139 balls, 6 fours), while Hildreth fell to spin when he was trapped lbw by spinner Adil Rashid for 49 (92 balls, 4 fours).
Set just 70 to win, Yorkshire reached their target in 20 overs for the loss of Alex Lees to win by the comprehensive margin of nine wickets. Facing probably the strongest MCC side ever selected for this Champion County encounter, Yorkshire are already setting the tone for the new season and showed why they are already many people’s favourites to win silverware again in 2015.
“You never really know how you’re going to go first knock of the season, so it was good to get into a bit of rhythm and hit some fours,” he said.
“I felt good. Obviously you’re doing loads of training over the winter and it was good to get into the nets out here beforehand. The pitch was quite kind really. We had the good conditions early on and I fair hit some out of the middle of the bat, so it was a good start.
This is the first day/night first-class match Hildreth has played – one where a pink ball was used throughout. He prospered early on day one in normal daylight conditions, but got out soon after the lights started to take over. So what were his thoughts on the experiment?
“I felt fine. The whole game is quite a strange format. I’ve never played in a day/night four-day game.
“Early on it was fine because it’s just like any other game and facing a pink ball is no different really; it has no major affect. When it starts to get dark, it does change it a little bit in, trying to pick the length up and picking it up when the lights are going down, but overall I thought it was good.”