The ball crashed into a pigeon that was happily pecking away at the lush outfield and diverted obligingly into the path of fielder Chris Nash, who promptly returned it back to the bowler.
Magnificently unfazed, the pigeon continued happily pecking away as though it was the feathered equivalent of the character Jaws, the famously indestructible James Bond villain.
When Nash tried to shoo the pigeon away from further danger, it moved only slightly before defiantly returning to exactly the same spot, as if to prove, as if proof were needed, that it is not only human beings who are bred tough in these parts.
The incident was a metaphor for Yorkshire’s day, with the hosts playing in a similarly tough, unflappable manner.
From 204-7, after Gurney had captured three wickets in 10 balls after the hosts resumed on 189-4, Yorkshire chiselled out a total of 334, setting the visitors 403 to win from a minimum of 133 overs.
Bresnan led the way with an unbeaten 68, his highest score since his famous heroic failure century at Lord’s in September 2016, and he received equally steadfast support from last man Ben Coad, with whom he added 77 for the 10th-wicket in 17 overs, Coad striking a career-best 33.
Notts closed on the brink at 181-8, Coad capturing 4-55 to add to his first innings 4-49.
Earlier, players spectators and indeed pigeons had been kept waiting for almost two-and-a-half hours before the third day permitted continued cricket.
In the opening session, only eight balls had been bowled after rain delayed the start until 11.20, time enough for Gary Ballance and Jack Leaning to complete a hundred stand for the fifth-wicket after Yorkshire began on 189-4.
Leaning did not add to his tally of 37 when play resumed after an early lunch, lbw to a ball from Gurney that might have hit him outside the line, and Ballance added only a single before playing-on to Gurney for 82, the left-hander’s attempted force through the covers succeeding only in sending the middle stump flying out of the ground.
When Andrew Hodd played around a straighter delivery from Gurney, Yorkshire were 204-7, a lead of 272, and the left-armer had his 500th wicket in all forms of cricket, just reward for a fine little burst.
At that stage, one sensed that Yorkshire already had enough runs in the bank but they were determined to grind out as many as possible.
Notts, too, were in no mood to cave in, wicketkeeper Tom Moores exemplifying their fighting spirit with two spectacular catches of which his predecessor, Chris Read, would have been rightly proud.
First, Moores leapt high to his right to claim a stunning one-handed grab when Josh Shaw edged a ball from Luke Fletcher.
Then, he pulled off an almost identical catch when Jack Brooks swung hard at a delivery from Jake Ball, leaving Yorkshire 257-9.
Bresnan and Coad proceeded to make hay beneath overcast skies, the former making a mockery of the fact that he averaged only 18 in the Championship last year, and the latter showing that he is more than useful with bat in hand.
Bresnan showed his strength by pulling Gurney for six out towards the West Stand, while Coad lofted spinner Samit Patel for six over long-off into the Rugby End building site, resulting in a lost ball.
Not until the stroke of tea was the partnership broken, Coad carving Fletcher to cover.
It left Notts needing to make the joint third-highest total to beat Yorkshire in a first-class match, and the joint-highest against them at Headingley after Hampshire successfully chased 403 in 2006.
The visitors made a purposeful start, Mullaney taking three fours off Brooks’s opening over.
Jake Libby hit two boundaries off the second over, bowled by Coad, who then got Yorkshire on the board by trapping Mullaney plumb in front in his next over.
A bit of extra bounce seemed to deceive Nash when Bresnan found the outside edge, wicketkeeper Hodd doing the rest.
Coad then produced the perfect full outswinger to bowl Libby and then another fine delivery to castle Patel, leaving Notts 101-4.
Once Yorkshire had the New Zealander Ross Taylor the outcome was practically done and dusted.
Brooks got him to feel for one outside off stump and Hodd pouched another straightforward catch.
Brooks took his second wicket when he yorked Fletcher and, when Riki Wessels was caught behind off Shaw, Notts were 151-7 with 1.4 overs left in the day.
The extra half-hour was taken at 7.05pm, and although Coad had Luke Wood caught in the slips by Leaning, Yorkshire were not quite able to complete a job they will finish today.