This one is building up nicely, like a novel by Bruce’s namesake, Frederick.
Heading into day three, Warwickshire are 49-1 in their second innings, 28 runs adrift of the hosts. If Yorkshire play their cards right from here, they would take a major step forward in the battle to avoid relegation to Division Two, where Warwickshire are already headed after eight defeats in 12 matches.
Low-scoring affairs are invariably compelling, and this one has been no different. Yorkshire began day two handily placed on 62-1 in reply to Warwickshire’s own first-innings score of 219, with only a fine hundred from Jeetan Patel and a fifty from Ian Bell lifting the visitors from 49-6.
Whether Yorkshire’s failure to kill off the Warwickshire innings more quickly from that position will prove costly will only be known once the outcome is learned. Warwickshire might also feel that they missed a chance to kill off the Yorkshire innings sooner from 179-6, the hosts rallying to 296 as they came within a whisker of a third batting bonus point.
On a bright and clement morning, with barely a hint of wind, Yorkshire lost a wicket to the day’s third ball when nightwatchman Steve Patterson drove at a delivery outside off stump from Ryan Sidebottom and was caught at first slip by Patel.
Patterson is enough of a batsman to know that it was a loose stroke, and he reproached himself as a batsman does, kicking the ground in frustration before returning to the pavilion.
After Alex Lees was bowled driving airily at a Chris Wright in-swinger, Adam Lyth also reproached himself at the crease when he played on to Boyd Rankin. Lyth punched his bat in annoyance after dragging on an attempted pull shot, which made a mess of the stumps as surely as if groundsman Andy Fogarty had inadvertently driven his tractor into them. Lyth, who was 35 not out overnight, played well for the top score of 62, made from 136 balls with five fours and two sixes. His departure left Yorkshire 115-4, which had become 153-4 by lunch as Gary Ballance and Jack Leaning dug in doggedly to halt the visitors’ early momentum.
But a nip-and-tuck game continued on its nip-and-tuck way as spinner Patel struck with his third ball after the break, drawing Ballance forward with one that feathered the outside edge to leave Yorkshire 158-5.
When Wright had Andrew Hodd caught behind, Yorkshire were 179-6 and wobbling a touch, but Leaning and Tim Bresnan settled them down with a stand of 49 in 16 overs of patient batting.
Leaning has been playing well of late, building on some useful cameos in the T20. Another good score looked on the cards but he was cut off in his prime on 36, driving a little loosely at a ball from Matthew Lamb that flew to Bell in the gully, Leaning’s own feelings of frustration betrayed by a slow swish of his bat.
Bresnan’s equally impressive innings was ended three short of a fifty when he was bowled trying to sweep Patel on the stroke of tea, which Yorkshire took at 265-8. Bresnan, who gave the shot the kitchen sink, faced 75 deliveries and hit six fours.
Fresh from his maiden five-wicket haul in first-class cricket in the Warwickshire first innings, pace bowler Matthew Fisher showed that he can hold a bat too.
The teenager played some handsome strokes through the offside as he added 37 useful runs from 66 balls with five fours.
After Jack Brooks fended Rankin to Patel at first slip, Fisher was last out when he was caught and bowled by the giant fast bowler, who leapt to take the catch one handed. No one apart from Rankin would have been tall enough to have grabbed the chance.
Trailing by 77, Warwickshire’s second innings began positively as openers Dominic Sibley and Liam Banks added 35 inside 11 overs. Coad broke the stand when he trapped Sibley lbw playing across the line, having had Banks dropped on nine with the score on 19 by Leaning at third slip.
When bad light ended play with four overs left, Banks had advanted to 22 and Trott to nine.