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Ian Chadband

Rain can't stop Harris opening English season with a 50

Marcus Harris has opened his season with Leicestershire with a half-century. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

In traditional fashion, there were enough April showers around to put a dampener on the start of the English cricket summer - but it wasn't enough to stop Australian Marcus Harris opening up with a half-century. 

The ever-reliable left-hander quickly demonstrated why he was the man Leicestershire sent an SOS to last month after his fellow Victoria batter Will Pucovski had to pull out of his deal with the county following another concussion.

Despite a rain-delayed start at Headingley due to a soggy outfield, Harris, back with the Midlands team he previously played for in 2022, proved Leicester's mainstay on a shortened day against Yorkshire, scoring a fluent 56 as they stuttered to 5-164.

Harris, who's always been prolific with the bat for both Gloucestershire and Leicestershire, could have been run out on 23 when Matt Milnes missed with a shy at the stumps but went on make his 50 off 93 balls with the 11th of his dozen boundaries.

He was eventually snaffled at slip by England batter Harry Brook in the slips off the impressive George Hill, who took 3-25.

But Harris's Victoria colleague Peter Handscomb was still there at the close, 20 not out.

Elsewhere, Nathan Lyon's eagerly-awaited debut for Lancashire was washed out for the day at Old Trafford where they had been due to play Surrey.

But it was revealed the veteran spinner won't get his chance of a dream link-up with England paceman James Anderson until the end of May at the earliest.

Anderson, at 41, is looking to prime himself for Test duty and says he'll sit out Lancashire's early matches

"With the Tests being in July, it's tricky," said Anderson. "It'll probably be June before I play, or maybe the end of May."

Lyon had said earlier in the week how much he's looking forward to playing alongside Anderson, and the feeling's mutual.

"It was nice to actually have a civil conversation with him!" smiled Anderson. "I think he plays seven out of the first nine games, so hopefully I'll play one or two, either at the end of May or in June."

There was some action at other grounds, with former South Africa captain Dean Elgar quickly stamping himself as an ideal replacement for the retired Sir Alastair Cook with his impressive debut knock of 80 for Essex in their 9-244 against  Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

The summer's first century maker was Glamorgan captain Sam Northeast, a man not averse to a big first-class score as a one-time quadruple-centurion. 

This time, he was left unbeaten on 186 in the the division two clash with Middlesex at Lord's as the Welsh county, who will also have Marnus Labuschagne in their ranks soon, finished on 3-370 at the close.

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