Sidebottom channels his inner Flintoff for Yorkshire

Sidebottom channels his inner Flintoff for Yorkshire

Six balls that swung momentum back to leaders could yet define season for Yorkshire

Could one over really change a season? Could one over, in a season spanning 16 games per team, really determine the County Championship winners when September comes around?

The lack of highlights and availability of free-to-air domestic cricket means this particular over will not get the recognition it so definitely deserves. Those who were lucky enough to witness that Andrew Flintoff over at Edgbaston 2005 will proclaim that as the best over in cricket history. Ryan Sidebottom may not have quite staked that level of glorious fast bowling, but his effort against Warwickshire on Day One at the same ground will keep those there in the Midlands talking about it for years to come.

The context: on an admittedly bowler-friendly day, County Champions and Division One leaders Yorkshire have just been bowled out for 213. Their effort would have been far sorrier had Jonny Bairstow not made a superb century to further stake his Ashes claim.

Despite winning the title last year, the White Rose could, and perhaps should, have claimed the same accolade in 2013, but a one-off bad game against eventual-winners Durham at Scarborough derailed a season that eventually led to them coming up short. Warwickshire’s bowling effort hinted that Edgbaston 2015 could be this season’s equivalent.

Up steps Ryan Sidebottom. A man and a player with a career that never wants to say no, worth far more than the 22 Tests he gained. His 7 for 47 against New Zealand remains forever etched on the mind.

Despite Sidebottom playing his last Test over five years ago, the effort and commitment to Yorkshire, and formerly Nottinghamshire, has never been questioned, not to mention the metronomic skill-set the left-armer possesses.

In he steamed. Firey as ever. Varun Chopra in his sights. The scorecard will read: V Chopra b Sidebottom 0 (1). Those at Edgbaston will appreciate it as much more.

Warwickshire’s reward for bowling out their visitors was a tricky five-over spell in the late evening gloom, a difficult enough task even without county cricket’s most lethal left arm.

Chopra may question his own judgement from the shaggy-haired 37-year-old’s first delivery, but the swing Sidebottom gained in forcing the opener to leave a ball that crashed into his stumps will have gained far better scalps since his debut 18 years ago.

Yorkshire are County Champions for a reason. While Sidebottom, as good as he is, is not the only cause, his contributions in twilight years have eased the pressure on an ever-developing bowling unit.

Chris Wright was the next man in. Whether cocksure from his five wickets or sent in as an unfortunate victim to watch the night, he was to be no match for Sidebottom. He survived one more ball than Chopra, but the bowler’s third cherry of the innings swung, swung some more and crashed into Wright’s front pad. Finger up. 0/2. CJC Wright lbw Sidebottom 0.

Enter Jonathan Trott. By county cricket standards, Sidebottom v Trott is nothing short of a mercurial battle. The batsmen survived, but their battle is only just beginning.

Tomorrow is another day. But for Yorkshire’s season? This could be the definitive moment.

End of Over 1: Warwickshire 0/2 (R J Sidebottom 1-1-0-2)


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