Rampant Brooks fears for old county
Northamptonshire 94 (Brooks 5-36, Sidebottom 4-16) trail Yorkshire 459 for 9 dec (Ballance 174, Lees 90, Hall 4-103) by 365 runs
As Jack Brooks agreed, having run rampant against his former colleagues, Northamptonshire will have to learn their lessons quickly if they are not to go the way of Derbyshire last year in finding the step up from Division Two to Division One in the Championship a source of frustration and ultimate failure.
They held on for a merit-worthy draw against the champions, Durham, last week, but found out here that, as was Derbyshire's lament all too often last year, one bad session can cost a match. Their second session on day two was particularly bad, bowled out for 94 in the space of 30 overs. With a deficit of 365 when they begin their follow-on, they had only the temporary release of the rain which set in after tea and prevented more play.
"It is going to be a tough year for them," Brooks said. "They have a good work ethic and play well as a unit but they are going to have to graft and this will be a bit of a wake-up call to some of them who have not played in the higher division. One session can cost you a game and we are the kind of team that are not going to let a team off the hook."
Brooks finished with 5 for 35, his best figures for Yorkshire in first-class matches, with four of his wickets coming in a seven-over spell at the Rugby Stand End, to the accompaniment of sound effects generated by the Leeds Rhinos supporters in full voice on the other side, which leant a surreal atmosphere to the occasion.
He revealed afterwards that he prefers bowling at the Kirkstall Lane End, where he opened (5-1-17-1) and would have remained had Andrew Gale not decided, after giving him a brief breather, that he could relieve Ryan Sidebottom at the other end.
Brooks felt he bowled a little too full at times, but it was nowhere near often enough to allow much respite for the batsman. Having bowled James Middlebrook in his first spell when the opener played down the wrong line, he produced a peach of a ball for Rob Newton, one of his best friends at Wantage Road, that would have tested better-known batsmen, taking the edge despite his best efforts to miss it.
Andrew Hall edged low to third slip, then David Willey and Steven Crook, possibly not showing the discipline they might have applied in the circumstances, were caught at gully and backward point respectively, slashing at wide ones.
Not that it was all about Brooks, whose headband gives him the air of a warrior that goes down well with the locals. Sidebottom, who has managed all these years to tame his mane without the need for accessories, finished with 4 for 16, completing the demolition with wickets from successive deliveries. Even at 36, his powers show little sign of waning.
It was a good day for Brooks with the bat, too. His 37 off 39 balls, included a straight drive for four off Maurice Chambers that was as good a shot as was played all day, followed immediately by a six audaciously helped over the long-leg boundary. Had Yorkshire not declared on 459 for 9, as Brooks noted later, the day might have been notable too for his second first-class fifty.
In all, Yorkshire added 107 runs in the morning session, Gary Ballance building on his 117 overnight to reach 174, which is by 26 runs his highest score in England, before he was leg before playing back defensively to Hall, who plugged away tirelessly for his four wickets but of course could not compensate his side for the absence of both last season's leading wicket-takers, Trent Copeland, who is no longer with the club, and Willey, who cannot yet bowl as he recovers from back problems.
Sidebottom's batting deserves a mention, too, given that he stuck around for 95 minutes with Ballance in making his 15, continuing for an hour and a quarter after being hit on the head by a ball from Mohammad Azharullah that left him needing treatment for a cut on the head.