Australian import Peter Handscomb showed exactly the kind of quality that Yorkshire hoped he would inject into their top order as the visitors took command against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
In reply to the home side’s 178, Yorkshire were 295-6, 117 ahead, at the close of the second day of this Specsavers County Championship match.
Their impressive collective bowling effort had a home-grown heart as Ben Coad, Harrogate-born and Thirsk-educated, took 5-52 to complete back-to-back five-wicket hauls in his fourth and fifth first-class matches. But the foundation stone of their batting was Melbourne-made.
Handscomb went in with team wobbling on 9-1 and, as befits a player with a Test average of 54.27, batted with immediate freedom and confidence. He enjoyed some luck, especially early on, but seized rapaciously on anything loose on his way to 75 (110 balls, 12 fours).
After Handscomb’s departure, Tim Bresnan (61)), supported by Jack Leaning and Adil Rashid, patiently extended Yorkshire’s advantage against a softened ball in the final session. Warwickshire have much batting to do to save this match.
After resuming on 152-8, the home side soon lost Chris Wright, whose cartwheeling off-stump provided Coad’s fifth wicket. Keith Barker posted his second successive half-century (50 off 88 balls, four fours) before edging Bresnan to wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd.
Warwickshire needed to strike back hard but took only one wicket in 16 overs before lunch. Adam Lyth gloved a legside delivery from Wright to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose, but Alex Lees and Handscomb added 88 in 24.5 overs before the former edged Barker to Rikki Clarke at second slip.
Handscomb, making a particular effort not to let spinner Jeetan Patel dictate, played with considerable aplomb. It came as a surprise when he perished, inside-edging a big drive at Wright on to his stumps, but he left with his side only 46 behind with seven wickets intact.
Gary Ballance (22, 60 balls) edged the first ball after tea, from Olly Hannon-Dalby, to Ambrose but Leaning (40, 114 balls, five fours) and Bresnan took their side in front with a stand of 60 before the former fell to a sharp short-leg catch by Sam Hain off Patel.
Barker trapped Bresnan lbw with the new ball but Rashid, a century-maker in this fixture in 2013, settled solidly in and Yorkshire’s lead steadily grew as dusk fell.