MICHAEL Bates was “thrilled to bits” after his maiden LV County Championship century put Hampshire in charge against Yorkshire at Headingley.
Once again, the young wicketkeeper justified the faith shown in him by scoring vital runs at number seven as Hampshire made 427.
Simon Katich (196) helped Bates (103) lay the foundations of Hampshire’s highest total since Yorkshire’s visit to the Ageas Bowl last August.
Their 170-run partnership equalled Hampshire’s highest sixth-wicket stand against Yorkshire, set by Phil Mead and Gerald Harrison at Southampton in 1914.
Bates’s century, from 151 balls with 19 fours, was a real coming of age. The 21-year-old reached the landmark in his 21st Championship appearance, a record that loses little in comparison with Hampshire’s greatest wicketkeeper-batsman (Nic Pothas hit his maiden Hampshire hundred in his 17th outing) He showed few nerves after resuming the second day on 88, producing a classic cover drive off Steve Patterson to canter to 96 and in the same over placing him backward of point to reach three figures.
Bates said: “I was a bit nervous waiting overnight but it’s very nice to get it under my belt and hopefully this is the first of many."
The academy product was relieved to finally reach his century rain delayed the start of day two until after lunch.
“I did all the hard work the day before, it was one long wait but I finally got there and I’m thrilled to bits,” he smiled.
Bates was run out by Katich after some poor running from Hampshire’s overseas player.
“Once Kat set off I had to go,” added the Yateley youngster.
Attempting to reach his double century with a big hit over the top, Katich was then deceived by Adil Rashid's flight and skied the ball to wide mid-on.
In reply, Yorkshire were 100-3 at stumps.