Finch ton bolsters Yorkshire
Yorkshire 422 (Finch 110, Bairstow 68, Lees 64, Pyrah 62) lead Warwickshire 228 by 194 runs
Yorkshire's deprivations again were comfortably overcome as Warwickshire conceded a lead just big enough to raise the uncomfortable possibility of a third consecutive innings defeat in matches between these sides.
Half-centuries from Alex Lees and Jonny Bairstow preceded one from Rich Pyrah to go with his fine bowling on day one, but all were trumped by Aaron Finch, who scored a first Championship century with which he was so delighted as he watched his ninth four race unstoppably towards the midwicket boundary he bounded across two neighbouring pitches, leaping in the air and thrusting his bat in the direction of the Yorkshire dressing room.
Its significance to the Australian batsman was clearly momentous, no doubt because he represents that modern phenomenon, the Twenty20 specialist who wishes it to be known that he can be a proper cricketer too. He has scored more runs in T20 than any other form, most notably smashing 156 in just 63 balls against England at the Ageas Bowl last year, and he was hired primarily to unleash his muscle power on the NatWest Blast.
Yet it was always in Yorkshire's plans that Finch would play Championship cricket while Kane Williamson was on duty with New Zealand. It is in Finch's plans, moreover, to play Test cricket, quite possibly here next summer. He had scored first-class hundreds before, one in the Sheffield Shield and another for Australia A, but it appeared - unless he celebrated the first two with similar extravagance - that this one meant more. He can set it alongside his 88 off 55 balls in the Roses T20 as the highlights of his summer so far.
The manner of this innings was more prudent, naturally, although he did not miss many opportunities to flex his muscles, twice lifting balls from Jeetan Patel, the offspinner, over the ropes, and blasting one delivery from Keith Barker, the left-arm quick, for six over extra cover. The shot benefited from a short boundary but cleared 17 rows of seats before it landed. An off-drive for four followed next ball and a meaty pull to the midwicket boundary in the same over brought up the hundred.
Finch was out on 110, top-edging an attempted pull against Boyd Rankin, to which Tim Ambrose reacted with a salmon-like leap to take a fine, acrobatic catch with one hand behind the stumps, but by then Yorkshire were well on the way to maximum bonus points, which they needed to keep pace with Nottinghamshire as joint leaders in the Championship.
There were solid contributions, too, from Lees, who advanced to 64 before Chris Woakes tempted him with a bit of width and found the edge, and Bairstow, who escaped a chance on 26 but otherwise looked in good order until he chopped a ball from Rankin on to his stumps on 68, ending a stand of 92 with Finch during an afternoon session that added 134 for that one loss.
The final session at least yielded some wickets for Warwickshire, although not quickly enough for them to take three bowling points. Pyrah, who shared a stand of 123 in 30 overs with Finch, was leg before for a commendable 62, then Steve Patterson added 32 before he was caught at midwicket. Ryan Sidebottom nicked one to the wicketkeeper before Varun Chopra held a slip catch off Rankin as Jack Brooks fell for 3.