Bairstow and Bresnan brilliant as Yorkshire hammer Durham

Jonny Bairstow in action today
Jonny Bairstow in action today

Runs were plundered at a rate of knots; records fell just as quickly. This was as emphatic a day as you are likely to see anywhere this county cricket season.

It is far from a decisive match in the grand scheme of things – Yorkshire have half of their 16 games remaining - but a potential title race will likely hinge on any after-effects Durham suffer from a chastening day two against the champions.

Their unbroken stand of 366 is the highest for a seventh-wicket partnership in the County Championship’s 125-year history.

Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan combined to slay Durham’s attack, adding 228 runs to their overnight position and taking Yorkshire to 557-6 declared, the first Division One score of over 500 this season.

Their unbroken stand of 366 is the highest for a seventh-wicket partnership in the County Championship’s 125-year history, surpassing a record held since 1902 by Surrey’s Kumar Ranjitsinhji and Billy Newham. Were they still with us, the pair would have undoubtedly applauded the quality on show.

The stand is also the world’s third largest for a seventh wicket, the largest for any wicket against Durham and their individual scores, Bairstow’s 219* and 169* for Bresnan, are now career-bests in first-class cricket.

After exercising every bowling option, with every player but Gordon Muchall and wicketkeeper Michael Richardson turning his arm over, Paul Collingwood’s field positions started to resemble an exercise in damage limitation.

“We were just putting work into guys who have already done an incredible amount of work this year,” Jon Lewis conceded after play.

“It was a tough balance with that one but we still have ambitions for what we can get out of this game, but we also have to think about how much work Rushworth, Hastings, Onions in particular have done in recent months.

“Yes, we still want to win the game and we will do what we can, but we don’t want to break anybody.”

Yet despite the visitors racking up a huge score, Lewis insisted it was still the correct decision to bowl first: “I still think it was not quite a no-brainer, but there was an awful lot of evidence to bowl first.”

Save for a few early scares, including two in one John Hastings over from Bairstow, neither batsman offered significant chances as the home side toiled.

The only slight disappointment was their reluctance to chase a fifth batting point having been in a commanding position, but the onslaught started in earnest after lunch.

Had he not been in such beautiful touch, Bairstow’s unorthodox swipe over the leg-side off Hastings’ well-directed bouncer would have ballooned up in the air – it ended up in the stands.

Bresnan sauntered to his 150, eclipsing his previous first-class best of 126*, while Bairstow went to his second double hundred but not before a huge lbw appeal off Collingwood on 197.

A declaration came soon after and Durham were soon failing on their turn with bat in hand.

Adil Rashid’s leg-spin was introduced after eight overs and Keaton Jennings almost feathered a return catch after one ball. The second ended up in Bresnan’s hands at slip.

Mark Stoneman chopped a Steve Patterson ball onto his own stumps, Collingwood padded up to the same bowler without scoring after tea and Richardson departed after surviving two dropped catches at slip.

Muchall perished to a Bresnan yorker at 81-5 but Scott Borthwick played patientialy and put on 59 with Pringle before the close.