A half-century for Australian, Travis Head, on his Specsavers County Championship debut, and an unbroken last-wicket stand of 48 between Steven Patterson and Ryan Sidebottom, helped Yorkshire close on 252-9 on the first day of their match against Warwickshire.
The title-holders went into the match in sixth place in the table but with a game in hand of all those above them, apart from Durham. Warwickshire, also in with a good chance of claiming the crown, held third spot, 14 points behind leaders, Middlesex.
Yorkshire were able to include both Sidebottom, out of action since late April with an ankle injury, and fellow paceman, Jack Brooks, who had recovered from an abdominal strain. They were also able to pick leg-spinner, Adil Rashid, after his release by England, but they decided to omit both Liam Plunkett and David Willey.
Winning the toss, Yorkshire’s innings was soon interrupted by a heavy shower but on the resumption they lost Alex Lees who was lbw to the third delivery from first change bowler, Rikki Clarke.
Head, looking every bit a first class player, settled in well with Adam Lyth who seemed in fine form himself, twice in one over driving Clarke through extra cover when he over-pitched.
Keith Barker bowled an excellent opening spell of 7-3-10-0 before being rested and Warwickshire were not long in bringing on Jeetan Patel, the pitch appearing helpful for pace and spin alike.
A flurry of boundaries for Head helped him catch up with Lyth who also fell in the first over of another bowling change. This time, former Yorkshire fast bowler, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, joined the attack and his fourth ball was a good one which the batsman was forced to play at but he only succeeded in edging to wicket-keeper, Tim Ambrose for 24.
Yorkshire went in to lunch on 62 for two and Hannon-Dalby’s first two balls on the resumption were hit for fours by Head but he lost his captain, Andrew Gale, when he was also caught behind off a testing delivery from Barker who was well deserving of his success.
By now, Head was looking very comfortable and he off-drove Barker for four to raise his 50 from 78 balls with nine fours. Another boundary followed but, in the same over, he cut hard at the bowler and straight into the hands of Andrew Umeed at gully.
After Leaning temporarily eased some of the pressure with a cleanly struck six over long on at Patel’s expense, the spinner struck back by getting Adil Rashid caught at slip by Clarke, the ball having first brushed Ambrose’s glove.
Yorkshire were in some trouble at 130 for five and Bresnan immediately had a piece of good fortune as a snorter from Chris Wright flew off the bat and just over the top of gully for four.
Both Leaning and Bresnan are men in form at the moment and they initiated a recover with some nicely timed strokes to take Yorkshire in to tea on 172 for five.
They moved their sixth wicket stand on to 60 before Leaning pushed defensively at Barker and was caught at second slip by Clarke for 42 and at 199 Bresnan clipped Hannon-Dalby firmly to deep mid-wicket and straight into the hands of Patel to depart for 28.
Without addition, Andrew Hodd fell lbw to Patel and when Brooks chopped Barker into his stumps, Yorkshire were 204 for nine and apparently sinking fast.
But Patterson, shielding Sidebottom from the strike for much of the time, frustrated Warwickshire with some unorthodox runs and after smacking consecutive fours off Barker the new ball was taken at 224 for nine in 84.4 overs.
Barker’s spell ended when he left the field, having bowled splendidly for his four for 55, and Patel was rested after 27 overs off the reel from the Kirkstall Lane end had brought him two for 54.
The biggest cheer of the day went up when the last wicket pair brought Yorkshire a second batting bonus point at 250 for nine, their stand now being worth 46, and they added a further two before the close.