Yorkshire had Joe Root and Gary Ballance back from England duty but the England player most responsible for rescuing their day was Tim Bresnan, who missed the early rounds of the Championship to recover from the physical demands of a busy winter but has returned to action looking lean and fit and, perhaps, with something to prove.
There have been suggestions that the all-rounder’s best years might be behind him. After injuries to his right elbow and then his back, there were questions over whether he could still bowl with the pace of his younger days and he does not justify selection purely as a batsman. He did not enjoy a good tour to Australia, although he was hardly alone in that.
Yet he bowled well on his comeback against Durham last week and his ability to contribute usefully with the bat is clearly still intact, as was demonstrated in a partnership of 113 for the seventh wicket with the New Zealand batsman, Kane Williamson, without which Yorkshire might have folded for not many more than 200 after Warwickshire put them in.
Root and Adam Lyth put on 91 for the first wicket, but Yorkshire lost five wickets between lunch and tea, sliding from 111 for one to 181 for six, with only Williamson holding them together after Andrew Gale, Ballance, Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid had gone cheaply in the face of some high quality seam bowling from Chris Wright, Keith Barker and Chris Woakes.
Ballance, who was hit on the right elbow by a short ball from Woakes, continued after lengthy treatment. He lasted only a few more deliveries, however, before an inswinger from Barker trapped him in front. Barker had also bowled Root, who played with assurance for his 69 but then chopped on to a ball that was straighter than he had anticipated.
Yorkshire’s collapse brought Bresnan to the crease at a moment that demanded that he followed Williamson’s lead in putting graft ahead of attacking instincts, and he acquitted himself well, particularly against Jeetan Patel, the New Zealand off-spinner, who asks questions of good batsmen even when the ball is not turning and who was unlucky to go wicketless.
Williamson, who has not yet made a century for Yorkshire, looked as if he might put that right here after lofting Patel over long-on for six but he did not get going against the second new ball and was leg-before, half-forward to Barker for 75.
Bresnan fell shortly afterwards, for 61, bowled attempting to drive Woakes. But their alliance, spanning 36 and half overs, allowed Yorkshire to post a score that may have been a little above par.
Batsman of the Day
Luke Wright has made more than 100 appearances for England yet none in Test matches, although at 29 he has not given up on correcting that omission from his cv.
Back in action with Sussex after a side strain kept him out of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, Wright led the way in a partnership with wicketkeeper Ben Brown that rescued Sussex from a tricky position at Hove, where Durham had them 115 for 5. Brown, not out on 152, made the fifth first-class hundred of his career, Wright the 12th, going on to finish unbeaten on 183, needing four more to equal his career best. Their partnership is so far worth 326, a Sussex record for the sixth wicket.
Durham’s cause was not helped by a back injury to Graham Onions, who could not bowl after his initial spell of eight overs with the new ball.
Bowler of the Day
Quite why Matt Dunn could barely get a look-in for three seasons with Surrey despite taking five for 56 on his debut in 2011 remains a mystery. Recalled against Essex last month, the 22-year-old fast bowler took five for 60, and proved yesterday that the achievement was no freak by taking a career-best five for 48 as Gloucestershire were dismissed for 168 at The Oval, where Surrey rested Jade Dernbach and Tim Meaker.
Dunn has been involved in the Potential England Performance Programme during the winter, spending part of his time at the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy in Melbourne.
Steven Davies handed the wicketkeeper’s gloves to Gary Wilson at The Oval, after Surrey decided he needs to concentrate on his batting skills, which seems to rule him out as a candidate for the job in the England team. Matt Prior’s stubborn Achilles tendon injury has undermined his chances of regaining the place he lost to Jonny Bairstow during the Ashes series in Australia, but Lancashire’s Jos Buttler may yet mount a challenge to Bairstow. Buttler made a half-century against Middlesex at Lord’s, although he was dropped twice and eventually fell to a catch by Chris Rogers at cover after he drove at a ball from Neil Dexter, who took five wickets in an innings for the first time in his career.