Dawid Malan quickly showing his worth to Yorkshire in victory at Durham
But the England man showed the wisdom of Yorkshire’s investment by helping them to a six-wicket triumph on his maiden appearance for the White Rose.
Malan top-scored with 73 as Yorkshire won their first match in the Bob Willis Trophy, the visitors needing only 64 balls to reach a target of 171 after starting day four on 103-3.
Harry Brook contributed an unbeaten 66 that contained four sixes, two in successive deliveries off medium-pacer Gareth Harte over the straight boundary sealing the triumph.
It represented a great start to his Yorkshire career for Malan, who brings skill and solidity to the top-order and who showed why head coach Andrew Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon were so keen to sign him.
“To come in and repay the faith that Galey and Martyn have put in me and to help the team get over the line in the first game is very satisfying,” said Malan.
“When you come to a new club, there’s obviously a lot expected from you, and you have to earn the trust and respect of the players to be able to fit into the changing room.
“Hopefully I’ve done that in this innings to feel a bit more part of the team. Earning the respect of the guys is key before you can really start giving opinions or views in front of the players, so hopefully I can continue from here and keep scoring runs.”
On a day when rain prevented play until 1.45pm, Malan’s one disappointment was that he got out with 17 runs wanted. He slapped a long hop from the former Yorkshire batsman Alex Lees to long-on, where Sean Dickson took the catch.
Remarkably, Lees’s occasional off-spin also accounted for Malan in the 2016 County Championship title decider, when Malan helped Middlesex to victory against Yorkshire. He has now supplied two of Lees’s three first-class wickets.
“He’s my kryptonite,” quipped Malan. “He got me with a full toss last time and a long hop this time.
“I was a bit disappointed on this occasion because, as a senior player, I really wanted to be there at the end.
“I just got a bit carried away. I tried to hit him a bit too far and a bit too hard.”
Malan paid tribute to the Yorkshire bowlers, “who won us the game”, and said that the overall performance was “a good blueprint for us moving forward as a team”.
He also had much praise for Brook, with whom he added 98 for the fourth-wicket inside 26 overs after Yorkshire had been left to chase a nuisance target against a decent attack.
“I thought he (Brook) was brilliant,” said Malan.
“These low scores are always very tricky to chase, and the intent that he had was fantastic.
“You see guys go one or the other way in that situation, which is either very defensive or very attacking.
“He had that balance perfectly, which, for a young guy walking out at 50-3 (when he came into bat), needing another 120-odd against a decent attack at the Riverside, was really impressive.”
Brook took the initiative yesterday beneath slate-grey skies and in a blustery breeze.
After Paul Coughlin started the day with a maiden from the Lumley End, the proverbial red-herring, Brook – who resumed on 23 not out – was in no mood to mess around with the weather dodgy and the match-time running out.
The 21-year-old cover-drove Coughlin to the boundary and then held the pose, as if playing to a packed house of 15,000 instead of empty stands, and he followed that by pulling sixes in quick succession off Chris Rushworth and Coughlin, reaching a splendid half-century from 85 balls.
In fact, Brook played some of the best strokes on display in this match, while any hope that Durham had of sneaking victory was quickly snuffed out by the positive manner in which he helped to apply the coup de grace.
“When you watch batsman from the other end, especially young guys, all you care about really is how much time they have, and he (Brook) seems to have so much more time than a lot of players that I’ve seen, even good players that I’ve seen, which is a great sign for him,” said Malan.
“Hopefully this will give him the confidence to push on this year and score some big runs.
“I try to stay away from making predictions about young players (playing international cricket), but just watching him there he pulled and he drove and he clipped, and he had a good defence.
“Those are the basic fundamentals that you need to score runs at any level, and he was certainly impressive.”
So were Yorkshire collectively in the final analysis. They bowled well as a unit and seized the key moments.
In Malan they have a player of the highest quality.
After months of waiting, both he and Yorkshire are up-and-running.