Defending champions pulverised as Yorkshire continue to impress

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IF anyone doubted Yorkshire’s ability to win the County Championship in this, their 150th anniversary year, they should doubt them no more.

In the daunting backyard of the defending champions, a team that had lost only one of their previous 25 Championship games, came emphatic confirmation of Yorkshire’s capabilities as they won by an innings and 139 runs.

Make no mistake, this is a very good Yorkshire side, even without England stars Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, who were on Test duty at Lord’s along with Warwickshire’s Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell.

In particular, this is a very good bowling unit, even without new signing Jack Brooks, who is absent for six weeks with a broken left thumb, and notwithstanding the fact that Tim Bresnan joined this match halfway through having been left out of the Test.

In every facet of the game – batting, fielding, but especially bowling – Yorkshire were much too strong for a Warwickshire team powerless to withstand their seam bowling weaponry.

Having dismissed the home side for 128 in their first innings, Yorkshire routed them for 140 second time around to win with 23.4 overs of day three to spare, and that despite 37 overs having been lost to the weather on day one.

Bresnan, Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Patterson each claimed three wickets, the latter conceding just 19 runs from 11 overs.

Although the hosts are not the force they were last year, and despite the absence of the likes of Ian Westwood and Keith Barker through injury, this was a clinical display by a team who have won three of their opening five games to confirm themselves as genuine title challengers.

Warwickshire’s goose was effectively cooked going into a third day which Yorkshire began on 318-7, a lead of 190.

The home side started brightly, however, when Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett almost perished in the first over of the morning bowled by Chris Wright from the Pavilion End without addition to their overnight scores.

Plunkett fended the fourth ball into the gully region where Will Porterfield, running round from third slip, dropped a difficult chance as the batsmen scampered through for a single.

The next delivery saw Rashid bowled off a no-ball, the ball flying all the way to the City End boundary.

Rashid, 68 overnight, got lucky again when his first runs of the morning were a streaky four off Wright just past the slips, but normal service was resumed when the right-hander flashed a delightfully wristy drive off Chris Woakes to the cover fence.

Plunkett fell for nine when he was caught down the leg-side trying to pull Wright to leave Yorkshire 354-8, a dismissal that sent a party of schoolchildren in the Priory Stand into paroxysms of ear-splitting ecstasy (think schoolboy football internationals at Wembley).

Having scored a career-best 180 in the previous Championship match against Somerset, Rashid progressed to a second successive century from 149 balls with 12 fours.

The leg-spinner finished unbeaten on 110 after off-spinner Jeetan Patel completed a five-wicket haul by having Sidebottom lbw and Patterson caught at mid-wicket, Yorkshire all out for 407 half-an-hour before lunch.

In the twenty minutes that remained before the interval after the change of innings, Yorkshire reduced Warwickshire to a wretched 9-3.

Bresnan struck with the first ball when he pinned Varun Chopra lbw, and Sidebottom with the first ball of the second over when he inflicted an identical fate on Porterfield – both opening batsmen departing for golden ducks.

Darren Maddy’s desire to get off a pair almost resulted in the run-out of his captain, Jim Troughton, but Andrew Gale’s shy from mid-wicket in the same Sidebottom over narrowly missed the timbers.

Maddy fell to the final delivery before lunch, however, when Bresnan found the outside edge and Adam Lyth did the rest at second slip.

As the clouds rolled in and the floodlights came on, Warwickshire rallied a touch before Tim Ambrose was fourth out with the score on 40.

The former England wicketkeeper was also caught by Lyth at second slip, this time off Sidebottom, before Patterson produced a pearler to uproot Woakes’s middle stump for the second time in the game.

Sidebottom and Patterson traded lbws to remove Troughton and Rikki Clarke respectively, Patterson’s third wicket arriving shortly afterwards when Patel drove to Plunkett at one of two short covers.

Plunkett yorked Wright and Bresnan had Tom Milnes caught behind as Yorkshire sealed a win that put them second in the table, three points behind Middlesex.

n Yorkshire return to YB40 action tomorrow when they take on Unicorns at Chesterfield.

Having lost their opening two games in the tournament to Glamorgan and Somerset, Yorkshire must win this one to retain realistic hope of reaching the knockout stages.

The match begins at 1.45pm.

chris.waters@ypn.co.uk