Warwickshire v Yorkshire: White Rose attack now has look of relentless Aussies

ON THE FRONT FOOT: 'Yorkshire's Jack Brooks celebrates taking Durham's final wicket Chris Rushworth. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
ON THE FRONT FOOT: 'Yorkshire's Jack Brooks celebrates taking Durham's final wicket Chris Rushworth. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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IF Glenn McGrath doesn’t get you, Jason Gillespie will.

Or if Jason Gillespie doesn’t get you, Brett Lee will.

Or if Brett Lee doesn’t get you, Shane Warne will.

And so on and so forth.

Regardless of which permutations Australia used in their bowling attack, it seemed as though the side that dominated world cricket had more bowling options up its sleeve than Paul Daniels had tricks.

Day after day, they kept coming and coming.

There was little respite for the poor old batsman.

It would be absurd to compare the current Yorkshire attack to the Australian one of first-team coach Gillespie’s era, for there is no comparison.

McGrath was one of the greatest fast bowlers of all-time, Warne was the greatest leg-spin bowler of all-time – possibly the greatest bowler of all-time, full stop – and Gillespie and Lee were outstanding performers, along with a host of other names.

But there is a similarity in one sense, for it seems that in the County Championship these days, if Yorkshire’s Ryan Sidebottom doesn’t get you, Jack Brooks will.

Or if Jack Brooks doesn’t get you, Tim Bresnan will.

Or if Tim Bresnan doesn’t get you, Steve Patterson will.

Or is Steve Patterson doesn’t get you, Adil Rashid will.

And so on and so forth.

Day after day, they keep coming and coming.

There is little respite for the poor old batsman.

As leaders Yorkshire gear up for tomorrow’s match against fourth-placed Warwickshire at Edgbaston, with the visitors 11 points clear with a game in hand over second-placed Durham and third-placed Middlesex, it seems appropriate to analyse the contribution of the bowling group going into the second half of the Championship programme.

Considering that Yorkshire have won five of their eight matches so far, with the other three drawn, it is fair to say it has been pretty impressive.

As was the case last year, when five bowlers claimed at least 30 victims as the club won their first title since 2001, the wickets have been widely distributed.

Brooks has 38 at an average of 22.42, Patterson 28 at 22.46, and Bresnan 25 at 30.60 – to go with the small matter of 501 runs at 83.50.

Rashid – who misses this week’s match due to his call-up for the first Ashes Test – and Sidebottom have played only three Championship games owing to international duties and injury, respectively, with Rashid having 15 wickets at 23.93 and Sidebottom 10 at 25.50.

Liam Plunkett has played one game and Matthew Fisher two, while there have been useful contributions from James Middlebrook (10 wickets in two games at 19.60) and Will Rhodes (eight wickets at 32.50).

It is a spread of success appreciated by Gillespie, who acknowledges how important it has been to Yorkshire’s progress.

“When you look at our attack, it’s an envious position to be in,” he said.

“When a young guy like Matthew Fisher can’t get into the first XI, it probably suggests that you’ve got some decent bowlers.

“They work as a team, and they each bring something different.

“Brooksy is very attacking, whereas Patto likes to be seen as the dot-ball king.

“He’s always attacking offf-stump, he’s always asking questions of the batter, and he controls the run-rate well.

“That allows the likes of Brooksy to just come in and try to bowl quick and create opportunities.

“Siddy is the Rolls Royce, and Bres is a wonderful all-round cricketer. Then you’ve got Rash, who just does his thing and spins the ball hard.

“Once again, they’re performing really well, and I think it’s a very balanced attack.”

It is one of cricket’s oldest cliches, of course, that you need to take 20 wickets to win a first-class match.

A side can have all the batting talent in the world, but if it does not have the keys to unlock the door to the opposition line-up, it is not going to win too many matches.

Yorkshire, by their own admission, have not quite clicked with the bat this summer, which is a fairly frightening admission considering they look odds-on to record back-to-back titles.

Jonny Bairstow and Jack Leaning have been churning out the runs, with Bresnan not far behind them, and such has been the potency of the bowling that any batting concerns have not proved costly.

“We haven’t quite nailed our top-six batting yet, and that’s an area we can be a little bit better at going forwards,” said Gillespie.

“There were some good signs in our last match at Durham, the way the lads ground it out in tough conditions, and there are some quality players in our batting line-up.

“Now we go to Warwickshire, and we know that we’ll have to be at our very best to compete with them with bat and ball.

“But we’re in a good position at the moment, and we’ll relish the challenge.”