Bresnan five-for reward for changed action
Yorkshire 128 for 3 trail Warwickshire 435 (Westwood 196, Bresnan 5-85) by 307 runs
Cricket is a game of numbers and statistics - data in modern parlance, as Peter Moores reminded us with unfortunate timing during the World Cup. But sometimes they don't really tell you much.
Take Tim Bresnan, for example. In the 14 years since his debut, Bresnan has made three first-class centuries, has a highest score of 126 not out and has taken five wickets in an innings seven times. Taken in isolation, the figures might suggest a fairly modest career.
Yet were you to conduct a poll among Yorkshire members, it is doubtful you would find many who would choose "modest" as an appropriate adjective to describe Bresnan's contribution to the cause. England, who have picked him 141 times across the three international formats, might tend to agree.
He has started this season in wonderful form, with bat and ball, contributing wickets and runs to the opening-round victory over Worcestershire and bowling superbly again in this match, in which he does have a five-wicket haul. On an unresponsive pitch, his was always the bowling asking questions.
He had 3 for 39 overnight and claimed his fourth wicket in the fourth over of the day with a ball that curved in to the left-handed Peter McKay, taking his off stump. It took him a while to get the fifth, taking a little bit of punishment from Rikki Clarke along the way, before Jeetan Patel, never one to show too much respect to an opponent, picked him off for a couple of boundaries and then failed in an attempt to add another, hitting straight to mid-off.
Of course, the numbers might look better had the last few years not been blighted by injuries, which when they have not left him to cool his heels off the field have almost certainly compromised his effectiveness.
They are why, belatedly perhaps, he has been taking steps during the winter to explore what he might do to give his longevity a boost, and why his action has subtly changed. Surprisingly, given that the science of biomechanics has taken data to another level, it has not come about through hours of video analysis but more from the wisdom imparted by the Yorkshire first-team coach, Jason Gillespie.
"It is not a big change, but it is a decent change," Bresnan said. "I'm trying to bowl in a straight line, with no jumping out, getting more side on and that takes the pressure off the back, and off the shoulder and the elbow and the pec, all the areas where I was struggling in previous years.
"I can't get away with forcing it down now I'm a bit older. From an action point of view, hopefully it will be beneficial for my longevity."
In this match, he feels the improvement is there to see. "For me it was the best I've bowled for three or four years," he said. "It has come out nicely rhythm wise, bowling at decent pace with a bit of swing in nice areas."
Yorkshire have work to do in this match, needing 158 runs to avoid the follow-on after Warwickshire built a handsome total around Ian Westwood's six-and-a-half hour career-best 196.
Patel, the most effective spin bowler in the Championship, took two wickets in the 47 overs Yorkshire faced before the close, before controversy followed over the dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara, the India batsman, who was given out caught behind.
Pujara edged a ball from Boyd Rankin, but wicketkeeper McKay spilled the ball and it appeared to hit the ground before he reclaimed it and claimed the catch.
Warwickshire's appeal looked sure to be dismissed, as they usually are if there is doubt, but after a consultation with his colleague, Jeremy Lloyds, umpire Steve Garratt sent Pujara on his way, to derisive barracking from parts of the home crowd, some of whom made their feelings clear again at the close.
Yorkshire clearly felt it was at best a questionable appeal, but Dougie Brown, the Warwickshire coach, said that 20-year-old McKay, who is standing in for the injured Tim Ambrose, believed he had taken the ball cleanly.
It left Yorkshire, who had been 88 for 1 before Will Rhodes was caught at mid-on the previous over, denying himself a half-century with a loose shot, suddenly 88 for 3.
Earlier, Westwood, who batted so well to be 151 not out overnight, surpassed his previous best of 178 against Glamorgan six years ago but fell just short of a maiden double-hundred when Yorkshire's 37-year-old offspinner, James Middlebrook, hurried one through to have him leg before.
Middlebrook's 50th first-class wicket for Yorkshire thus followed 14 years after the 49th, with his exile to Essex and then Northamptonshire intervening. Effectively retired following his release at Wantage Road at the end of 2014, he is playing for Yorkshire purely as an emergency measure, with Adil Rashid, their only senior spin bowler, retained by England in the Caribbean.
As it happens, Middlebrook was batting at the other end when Bresnan strode out for his Yorkshire debut in a 45-over match against Kent as a 16-year-old in 2001.