Yorkshire 425 for 5 (Brook 110*, Malan 87*, Root 75) lead Essex 403 by 22 runs
However, youngster Brook stole the spotlight, giving another stunning audition ahead of the first Test of the summer against New Zealand next month, by smiting a thrilling century, so keeping up his record of scoring 50 or more in every innings so far this season. The 23-year-old, who closed on 110 not out, currently averages over 200 for the campaign.
Root was immediately in the action and got underway with a streaky four wide of second slip. Sam Cook beat him all ends up with a peach of a delivery next up, but that was a rare moment of concern.
In many ways this was trademark Root, a delicate cut to third man here, a sweep to fine leg there, the back-foot punch and the off-drive all featured. He was merciless on anything short, too – all this either side of a lengthy stoppage for rain just 45 minutes into the day which drove the players off for an early lunch.
At the other end, Matthew Revis looked too good for the nightwatchman role he’d played since the previous evening. The 20-year-old blunted the opening salvos and had just three singles to his name from his first 59 balls. A drive creamed through cover off Mark Steketee signalled a gear change and he later struck Shane Snater for successive boundaries.
The century stand came up in two hours, but, with a half-century in sight, Revis pushed a ball from Simon Harmer to midwicket and set off without waiting for it to beat the fielder. Root sent him back, and when Critchley returned to the striker’s end Revis was left short.
Root’s demise came equally out of the blue when he underedged a Critchley googly on to his leg stump on 75, but this brought Malan and Brook together and the latter got off the mark by slog-sweeping Simon Harmer over the square-leg fence. It was a sign of things to come as bristling with aggression he plundered already tiring bowlers, becoming the leading run-scorer in Division One this season when he reached 49. The single which followed meant his latest half-century had come in 48 balls.
At the other end, Malan was all finesse and timing, his driving, whether straight or square a thing of beauty, reaching his landmark in 92 deliveries.
The pair forged on in a lengthy last session. With great symmetry, having got off the mark with a six, Brook reached 101-ball century by hoisting Critchley over the ropes at midwicket.
In the dying embers of the day, Yorkshire’s record books were rewritten when Brook and Malan’s sixth-wicket stand reached 201, surpassing the 200 set by David Denton and George Hirst against Essex way back in 1902.