Ian Westwood narrowly missed out on his maiden double-century as Warwickshire ended day two of their match against Yorkshire at Headingley in a strong position, after making early inroads into their hosts’ depleted batting line-up.
Yorkshire toiled away in the morning session after a long day in the field yesterday, and their lines and lengths wavered a little after a consistent performance on day one. Tim Bresnan bowled inexperienced wicketkeeper Peter McKay in the opening minutes of play, but Ian Westwood proceeded to pick off the bad balls, which arrived with greater frequency than on Sunday. He passed his previous highest first-class total with a leg-side flick off James Middlebrook, who exacted his revenge when he trapped Westwood lbw for 19.
Despite passing the 400 mark with the Yorkshire seamers tiring, Warwickshire were unable or unwilling to raise the run rate for any considerable length of time. Most of their batsmen made starts, but wickets at regular intervals kept their scoring in check. Jeetan Patel injected some life into the Warwickshire innings with 31 off 36, including 13 off a single over from Bresnan. The Yorkshire stalwart won the battle eventually, though, when Patel slapped a back-of-a-length ball to Steven Patterson at mid-off. James Middlebrook had Boyd Rankin lbw for three to finish with 3-96, decent figures that masked the occasional big hits that were taken off his bowling.
As Yorkshire started their reply, Alex Lees was given a life on 15 when he lofted a drive in the direction of Keith Barker at deep mid-off. It was a gentle enough chance, but it burst through his hands and rolled merrily away for four. Both sides have had sloppy moments in the field in this match, and if there is no result after four days, those missed chances may have as much to do with it as the weather.
Lees was dismissed on the stroke of tea, a teasing full ball from Patel trapping him lbw without scoring after Barker’s drop. Will Rhodes unveiled a stylish back foot cover-drive in the first over of the evening session to get Yorkshire underway, and in partnership with overseas star Cheteshwar Pujara, he took his side to 88-1 before slogging Jeetan Patel to mid-on for his third consecutive score in the 40s as an opener.
Before another run had been scored, stand-in wicketkeeper Peter McKay claimed to have caught Pujara in Rankin’s first over for 23. There was some dispute as to whether the catch was taken cleanly, and the Yorkshire faithful chuntered furiously when the umpire raised his finger after a short conference.
Warwickshire then had an opportunity to roll Yorkshire reasonably cheaply with Leaning and Gale both on 0, but Leaning thumped Rankin for three fours in an over to revive the Yorkshire response and take them past 100. The pair saw the hosts safely through to stumps still 307 short of Warwickshire’s total.
The pitch is flat (Headingley ODIs are played on this strip), and the forecast is patchy; some of Tuesday’s play might be lost to rain. Warwickshire took time out of the game once they had laid a platform, and neither team has a full-strength bowling attack available to them (Warwickshire are still missing Chris Woakes with injury). Jeetan Patel could conceivably have a part to play on day four if Yorkshire are chasing, and the picture could change if Warwickshire pick up quick wickets tomorrow, but at the moment, all signs still point to a draw.