Bresnan helps Yorks overcome obstacles
Sussex 300 for 9 (Wells 74, Lewis 50*, Bresnan 3-62) v Yorkshire
If Yorkshire are to end a spell of 13 years without a Championship title - and Dickie Bird expects nothing less of his time as club president - it will owe much to the resolution displayed on days such as this.
There were obstacles for Yorkshire wherever you looked. England Test call-ups deprived them of three of the main reasons for their impressive start to the season; how Yorkshire would have longed for Liam Plunkett's extra pace and reverse swing on a docile Arundel wicket. Injury and impending fatherhood also meant there was no place for either Ryan Sidebottom or Adil Rashid. In the circumstances there was an inevitability to losing the toss.
With the sterling exception of Ed Joyce, Sussex's batsmen have been lacking in much form this season. But there was nothing to perturb Chris Nash, Luke Wells and Rory Hamilton-Brown in the morning session, and only Nash's rash drive provided Yorkshire some relief before lunch. Attritional cricket - "bowling dry" in the parlance of Old England - seemed to offer Yorkshire's best hope of damage limitation.
It was a situation ideally suited to Tim Bresnan. A post-lunch burst provided a reminder of why Bresnan was once regarded as England's lucky mascot. It contained zip and ample movement and an illustration of Bresnan's skill switching his line of attack between left and right-handers.
A ball that moved away defeated Hamilton-Brown's booming drive. That brought in Joyce, the fulcrum around which Sussex's batting is built. He already has four Championship centuries this season, but a brutal delivery, moving late to defeat his prod outside off stump, consigned him to a second consecutive duck. The accompanying Yorkshire roars spoke of a side who could detect Sussex's vulnerability.
With Azeem Rafiq, playing his first Championship game since last August, limited to seven overs, and Aaron Finch's left-arm spin of an exploratory nature, Yorkshire's attack did not possess much variety. But, though none of the four right-arm seamers possess pace to rival Plunkett's, they settled into a remorseless line outside off stump.
It all made for a busy day for Jonny Bairstow. He snared six catches, none spectacular but each taken assuredly, and could yet equal the feat of his late father, David, in taking seven in an innings for Yorkshire tomorrow morning.
Yet Bairstow's feat also owed to Sussex's impatience. Luke Wells' lesson in studiousness - he left the ball with admirable assuredness - was headed by too few of his teammates. When his 74 was ended by Bairstow's sixth catch, Sussex had subsided to 188 for 7. A good morning's work had given way to a miserable afternoon.
In the circumstances Sussex were very grateful to be able to call on a new friend. If there is an element of farce to James Tredwell's situation - he has joined Sussex on loan for the Championship, but will play against his new club for Kent in the NatWest T20 Blast on Friday - Sussex were in no position to be picky over where their lower order resistance came from. Tredwell punched the ball neatly in his 45, showing the quality that has earned three first-class centuries.
But his contribution was trumpeted by Jon Lewis's enterprise. Some late evening smears, including 14 runs off one Steven Patterson over, helped Sussex scramble to 300, and meant that both sides could reflect upon missed opportunities.
Lewis deserved the warm applause that accompanied his 53-ball half-century, brought up by a lash through the covers in the last over of the day. Evidently the charms of Arundel are not easily resisted: even on a muggy Monday with the World Cup providing a competing attraction, 2,500 spectators attended.