Edgbaston win has Vaughan and the rest of England excited

Have your say

“MY team for the 2nd Test at Headingley ... Root, Lyth, Sayers, Gale (c), Bairstow, Rashid, Hodd, Bres lad, Plunkett, Patterson and Sidebottom.”

So tweeted former England captain Michael Vaughan following Yorkshire’s victory against county champions Warwickshire.

“What about Ballance?” enquired Adam Lyth – aka @lythy09, a recent convert to the Twittersphere.

Vaughan could be forgiven for overlooking Gary in his euphoria and enthusiasm in a magnificent win.

And not just any win, mark you, but one which confirmed Yorkshire as genuine challengers.

In a nine-and-a-bit seasons of covering Yorkshire, I cannot recall a more impressive performance than the one served up at Edgbaston last week.

Vaughan’s tongue-in-cheek team for the Headingley Test seemed to crystallise the pride felt by every Yorkshireman and woman in the result.

It was one that reverberated far and wide, one that made the country sit up and take notice.

Dismissed as no-hopers by the nation’s bookmakers, most of whom made them favourites for relegation alongside Derbyshire, Yorkshire have emerged as a serious contender.

Of course, they themselves said they would be before the start of the season, when optimism traditionally springs eternal.

But it is one thing to talk the talk and quite another to walk the walk.

In the daunting backyard of the defending champions, a team that had lost only one of their previous 25 Championship games, Yorkshire walked that walk and won by an innings.

When I say I cannot recall a more impressive performance while covering Yorkshire, I specifically mean bowling performance.

To dismiss Warwickshire for 128 and 140 – even without England’s Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell – took some doing and was a triumph of tenacity and teamwork.

Steve Patterson and Liam Plunkett each took six wickets in the match, Ryan Sidebottom five and, after joining halfway through following his release from Test duty, Tim Bresnan three in the second innings.

Such was their pace bowling power that Yorkshire did not need to call on leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who might have found conditions to his palate in a contest in which New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel claimed 5-56 in Yorkshire’s innings of 407.

The tone was set by the rejuvenated Plunkett, who has made a splendid start to his Yorkshire career.

A devastating five-wicket burst in the first innings reprised his days as an international cricketer, and was one of those occasions when everything just clicked.

It was almost Steve Harmison-esque in the way that it suddenly came from a clear blue sky – or, after his seven-wicket destruction of New Zealand at Lord’s, perhaps that should be Stuart Broad-esque.

For along with Jack Brooks, currently sidelined with a broken thumb, Plunkett has exceeded supporters’ expectations after Yorkshire opted to strengthen their bowling. If Brooks and Plunkett are Yorkshire’s enforcers, players who can be expensive one day but electrifying the next, they are given that foundation to attack by the relentless accuracy of Sidebottom and Patterson.

Sidebottom, 35, just goes on and on without any sign of decline in his performance, while Patterson is an habitually underrated but essential cog in the bowling wheel. Patterson, pictured left, I thought, bowled as well as anyone at Edgbaston with his remorselessly probing line-and-length.

No-hopers in this, their 150th anniversary year?


And with the re-emergence of players like Rashid – currently averaging a mere 200.50 with the bat and bowling nicely – Yorkshire are deservedly high in the table after three wins in their opening five games.

Vaughan’s tongue-in-cheek Test side – or a close variant thereof – would appear to have the weaponry to go all the way.