Bresnan shines as depleted Yorkshire cruise to victory over students
ON the one hand this was a mismatch that provided little by way of competitive viewing.
On the other, it was just about the perfect workout for Yorkshire, who got everything they wanted to get out of their final warm-up before Friday’s opening County Championship game against Hampshire at Headingley.
Far more important than the facile victory by an innings and 224 runs – sealed with just over a session to spare – was the fact that all the bowlers got wickets and most of the batsmen got runs.
Although it was a first-class match in name only, it was very much job done from Yorkshire’s point of view as they completed their preparations for the season proper.
After fine hundreds by Adam Lyth and Alex Lees, along with fifties from Gary Ballance and Jack Leaning, underpinned Yorkshire’s 543-5 declared in reply to the students’ first innings 137, the hosts dismissed Leeds-Bradford for 182 second time.
Tim Bresnan starred with 3-12 from eight overs in a high-class display from the Kirkstall Lane end, while spinner Azeem Rafiq maintained his sharp upward curve with 3-50 from 13.4 overs.
Leeds-Bradford, 40-0 overnight and trailing by 366 going into the third and final day, were clearly up against it from the start and even more so when they were soon reduced to 45-4 by the evergreen Bresnan.
There was some spirited resistance later – Will Cook (42) and Daniel Houghton (28) added 66 for the ninth wicket, while Craig Wallace struck 32 – but it was a question of when, not if, Yorkshire would prevail.
“I think we got as much out of the game as we possibly could,” said first-team coach Andrew Gale.
“The batsmen spent some decent time in the middle, and the bowlers did well too. We’ve put a lot of work in this winter, particularly with the younger players, and we’ve had a good pre-season overall.
“It feels like Friday’s coming at the right time and it’s the real deal now, and we can’t wait to get started.”
Yorkshire are not allowing the fact that they are without five frontline pace bowlers to douse their optimism.
Jack Brooks, Ryan Sidebottom and Liam Plunkett are all injured, while David Willey and Matthew Fisher are easing their way back from injury in the second XI. As such, the performance of pace bowler Ben Coad in this game was particularly timely, the 23-year-old returning frugal match figures of 3-38 from 30 overs to put himself firnly in contention for what would be only his second Championship appearance on Friday, his first having come in the game at Durham last June.
“The injuries certainly aren’t ideal, but at least it does create opportunities for some of the younger lads,” said Gale.
“Ben Coad has been fantastic throughout pre-season, while Josh Shaw has been good in patches and, if he gets it right, he’s a handful as well.
“We’ve worked hard during the winter on Ben hitting the pitch a bit harder and not bowling that floaty half volley and also changing his role a little bit.
“People have perhaps put him in the Patto (Steve Patterson) category, but I think he’s a very different bowler.
“Ben is more of a wicket-taker and not a guy who’s going to come in and build pressure like Patto. As for Brezzie (Tim Bresnan), he’s like a fine wine.He’s getting better with both bat and ball I believe.”
Steve Bullen and Ben Shoare, the Leeds-Bradford openers, batted well on the second evening to give their side a glimmer of hope after Yorkshire’s dominant performance with the bat. However, in gloomy conditions yesterday morning, they were quickly dismissed by Bresnan, who trapped both lbw.
Coad had Martin Andersson caught by a juggling Lees at point, and the students’ cause – already hopeless – became utterly so when Bresnan bowled first innings top-scorer Ollie Graham for a single.
Leeds-Bradford slipped to 81-5 when Peter McDermott was lbw to Steve Patterson, and to 95-6 when Wallace went lbw to Josh Shaw. When Lyth trapped Jack Potticary lbw with his first ball shortly before lunch, it did not seem likely that the visitors innings would extend much beyond the break.
That seemed even more probable when Seb Feszczur-Hatchett was bowled by Rafiq straight after the interval, but Cook and Houghton frustrated the home side for 18 overs.
Finally, Rafiq had Houghton caught by Lyth at slip before ending the innings by having Cook stumped by Andrew Hodd, Cook’s fighting 42 arriving from 72 balls with five fours.