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Jon Culley at Headingley
May 11, 2014
Yorkshire 310-8 (Root 69, Williamson 75, Bresnan 61, Woakes 3-43, Barker 3-69) vs Warwickshire
Tim Bresnan's England Test place is deemed to be under threat as Chris Jordan attracts most of the plaudits as a potential bowling allrounder but he had a gratifying day as he stabilised Yorkshire on a challenging first day against the new Championship leaders Warwickshire.
Bresnan's seventh-wicket stand with Kane Williamson dug Yorkshire out of a hole. They were 181 for 6 when the seventh-wicket pair joined forces, the consequence of a middle session in which Warwickshire took five wickets and seemed well on the way to acquiring the proof that Ian Bell's decision to bowl on winning the toss had been the right one.
But after Bresnan had followed Williamson's example with a willingness to graft for runs and self-preservation on a wicket without too much pace and a tendency to throw up some unpredictable bounce, Yorkshire may feel they can claim the better of the opening day, for all that they are eight down.
Few of England's humiliated Ashes party returned from Australia with reputations intact and Bresnan might have felt uncertain about his future more than most, at least in terms of extending his Test career. A stubborn elbow injury that required two operations, followed by a stress fracture in the back, have encouraged questions about the toll they may have taken.
Bresnan missed the opening rounds on England's orders -- confirmation that his welfare, at least, remains their concern -- but he returned to action in reasonable fashion at Durham last week and had a chat with national selector James Whitaker during the mornin.
Afterwards he made 61 before being bowled attempting to drive Chris Woakes expansively, having batted until then with necessary application, emerging with credit from a testing spell against the off-spinner, Jeetan Patel, who has enough craft to ask questions even when there is little in the pitch for him.
It could have been much worse for Bresnan - and Yorkshire. He had an escape before he was off the mark, edging a ball from Chris Wright between wicketkeeper and first slip at catchable height, but otherwise made few mistakes.
If he is concerned about his future, he is not inclined to admit to it. "I don't really listen to any talk so I don't really know what's been said," he said afterwards. "All I can do is get a few runs and get a few wickets and throw my name in the hat and see what happens. I saw James upstairs and had a quick five minutes with him but he was playing his cards quite close to his chest.
"Injury wise, the last thing I had was the stress fracture of my back which was last October so that's not really been an issue over the winter. Once you're back fit and fighting the injuries aren't really an issue. I felt really good in the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh and bowled with a bit of zip."
Bresnan did not figure in England's opening one-day international against Scotland but will not have to wait long to learn whether he will be involved in the 20 and 50-over matches against Sri Lanka, the squads for which will be announced on Tuesday.
Williamson was again denied a first century for Yorkshire, trapped in front by a Keith Barker inswinger for 75, but it was an innings of considerable merit after the gains put in place by Joe Root's speedy 69 were wasted in the afternoon. Root, back along with Gary Ballance back from England duty, looked in good order until he chopped Barker into his stumps.
Ballance had one of his less memorable days of recent times for Yorkshire, taking a painful blow on the elbow when he failed to avoid a short ball from Woakes and, once recovered, scoring only four before he succumbed also to a Barker in-ducker.
His departure was the third in the afternoon collapse that began with Root's dismissal. Andrew Gale chopped on to Woakes, Jonny Bairstow missed one from Wright and Adil Rashid edged to second slip. Bresnan's intervention was sorely needed.
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