A final-session cameo from Andrew Hodd backed up some excellent bowling in the morning session to leave Yorkshire in a strong position after day two of their first game of the season against Hampshire.
Nevertheless, Hampshire will be grateful for the exploits of young keeper Lewis McManus and new signing Kyle Abbott, who made effective contributions with bat and ball respectively to give Hampshire a fighting chance on Sunday.
Resuming with figures of 5-18, Ben Coad was tipped at the start of the season as ‘one for the future’. After a superb bowling performance on the second morning of Yorkshire’s opening game of the season, he has proven himself one for the present as well.
Bowling in tandem with Tim Bresnan, who bowled predominantly back of a length during their partnership, Coad secured his sixth wicket of the innings when Kyle Abbott edged a nipping delivery to Jack Leaning at third slip via his towering pads. Tim Bresnan has never taken six wickets in an innings despite having played 168 more first-class matches than his young teammate.
Coad is not an obvious superstar. He doesn’t pitch the ball up with a booming swinger to swipe the batsman’s stumps. He barely bowled a bad ball, though, and Abbott and Dawson had to run hard to turn the scoreboard over. He simply did enough with the ball to tempt impatient spirits.
Coad’s prospective 10-for was spoiled by Tim Bresnan, who ousted England’s Liam Dawson for nine after the man with a higher Test average than Joe Root, Alastair Cook and Len Hutton failed to move his feet to a full-pitched delivery and departed lbw.
Three balls later, Gareth Berg nicked Bresnan tamely to Adam Lyth at second slip. Hampshire are only in division one thanks to the punishment handed down to Durham by the ECB last season, and it showed in their surrender in the first hour.
Lewis McManus and Brad Wheal fought admirably in the second hour of the morning session, but shortly after the restart Bresnan burst through Wheal’s withered defences. 22-year-old keeper McManus played extremely well for his 41, and must have felt a little aggrieved when Fidel Edwards swung his wicket away to give Bresnan his fourth of the day.
After the innings break, Edwards’ day got worse when Adam Lyth struck his fifth ball for six over the midwicket boundary. Hampshire were looking twitchily at a long afternoon, and potentially a sizeable chunk of tomorrow, toiling in the field waiting for Ballance to declare. In the eleventh over, Kyle Abbott was rewarded for a patient and disciplined spell with the wickets first of Lyth, then of Handscomb, edging fine deliveries to McManus and Ervine respectively.
Yorkshire just couldn’t kill the game in the afternoon and evening sessions. Captain Ballance rebuilt nicely with Jack Leaning, but Abbott trapped Leaning with a yorker and Tim Bresnan slapped Abbott carelessly to midwicket to complete a rare pair.
Andrew Hodd avoided that fate in style, striking the ball cleanly for a daring 54*. Undeterred by the loss of Ballance for 55 and Rafiq for two, he plundered Hampshire’s wearying attack with an array of impressive aggressive strokes. By the time Kyle Abbott returned to clear up tail (which he did with effortless brilliance to post figures of 7-41), Yorkshire’s lead already topped 300 and the game was theirs to lose.
Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams saw Hampshire through to the close but only chipped 10 runs off Hampshire’s target. While Coad cannot exactly be expected to repeat his first-innings heroics and Hampshire’s batsmen are unlikely to be as limp and careless as they were on day one, they would need to post the highest innings of the match to win, and on a pitch that has seen the odd ball surprise the batsman, and upon which the Hampshire seamers have created some tempting rough already.