Warwickshire v Yorkshire, Specsavers Championship Div One, Edgbaston, 3rd day April 16, 2017

Coad's dream start surprises even Yorkshire

Warwickshire 178 and 85 for 9 (Coad 5-27) trail Yorkshire 381 (Handscomb 75, Rashid 65, Bresnan 61) by 118 runs

Play 01:34
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Ben Coad continued his remarkable start to the season with another five-wicket haul to take Yorkshire to the brink of a crushing victory over Warwickshire.

Coad, who had played only one Championship match before this season, has now taken three five-wickets hauls in two games this season including one in each innings here. It leaves him with a tally of 18 at a cost of 11.77 in this Championship season.

And there is power to add. Due to one of those (charming or infuriating, depending on your outlook) quirks which cricket offers, these sides will resume service on Monday morning after the umpires brought them off 20 minutes early - well, within the extra half-hour called for by Yorkshire to claim a result within three days - due to bad light. It seemed, with two spinners in operation, an abundantly cautious decision though it was probably consistent with current policy that relates more to fairness than safety. And, were it to rain for 24 hours, Warwickshire could yet escape with a draw that could be vital to both sides by the end of the season.

It means that Warwickshire will resume on the final day with their final pair of batsmen requiring 118 more runs to make Yorkshire bat again. Realistically, they are facing succumbing to a second successive innings defeat at the start of a Championship season for the first time in their history. That is not the sort of consistency Ashley Giles was talking about before the season.

It will also mean that Yorkshire will have beaten Warwickshire five times in their seven most recent Championship encounters and three times by innings margins.

Key to Yorkshire's success here has been the bowling of Coad. It is true that he will encounter less helpful conditions and less obliging batting line-ups but, if he continues to hit the wonderful probing length he has maintained here, he will prove an asset on any surface.

He has generally maintained a lovely line, too, threatening the edge with his ability to move the ball away from the right-hander and using the crease intelligently to benefit from the one that holds its line or tails in a little. He probably bowls at a pace somewhere between 80-85mph and must have moved up the pecking order for a first team place considerably.

Even his captain, Gary Ballance, admitted a certain amount of surprise at Coad's success after play, though he stressed it was thoroughly deserved.

"It's brilliant bowling," Ballance said. "And he's getting top players out. It's deserved.

"But, honestly, I can't say I would have seen him doing this well. He must be surprised. He's got 18 wickets in four innings. I think anyone would be surprised. You don't expect someone to come in for their second Championship game and tear it up like he is."

Perhaps more pleasing from an England perspective has been the performance of David Willey. Returning to action slightly ahead of schedule after shoulder surgery, he has bowled with impressive pace - Ballance agreed he "bowled with more pace than I've seen from him before" - and increasingly good control.

Willey was on a hat-trick in his first over of the second innings here after producing a snorter to dismiss the unfortunate Alex Mellor - he really has been on the receiving end of some fine deliveries this season - with one that bounced and left him, before Jonathan Trott was punished for playing across a fine inswinger.

With Coad and Willey bowling beautifully, Warwickshire declined to 7 for 5. Ian Bell, who is living off reputation, pushed at one that left him, Sam Hain, who is living off promise, left a straight one, and Rikki Clarke, who is living on a prayer, edged a beauty that both bounced and left him. Tim Ambrose played around another straight one and, had Jeetan Patel not weighed in with a typically uncomplicated 30 not out, Warwickshire might not have managed many more than 50.

"We have a lot of questions to ask ourselves individually and collectively," Warwickshire's first team coach, Jim Troughton, admitted afterwards. "We just haven't been able to withstand any kind of pressure."

While Warwickshire's management are reluctant to talk about new recruits for fear that is suggests panic - and they have not, as yet, made any official 28-day approaches for players out of contract at the end of the season - Troughton admitted he was "open minded" about the possibility of a loan signing or two. In the longer term, they will surely be interested in Kent's Daniel Bell-Drummond, who is out of contract at the end of the season, while Moeen Ali's days as a Warwickshire player are also probably not over.

How they must long for Yorkshire's strength in depth. By the end of the week, they will welcome back Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root for the return match against Hampshire. But such depth has not come to Yorkshire through short-term recruitment, but through many years of development and coaching. There are unlikely to be short-term fixes for Warwickshire's problems.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • atc1810881580 on April 17, 2017, 8:29 GMT

    I feel sorry for players like Mellor being asked to play out of position, opening the batting is such a specialist position, he's almost being set up to fail. This in turn adds undue pressure to the later batsmen. One can only speculate at how successful the middle order might have been (Trott, Bell, Hain, etc). The importance of a solid start to an innings cannot be understated. Also I'd like to see changes for the next match, surely Ateeq Javed must be worth a try in the batting lineup.

  • Adam on April 17, 2017, 6:57 GMT

    Should be over in 10 mins. If there was a top order batsman at the crease then it would be over in 1 minute!!!

  • Sanjay on April 16, 2017, 21:35 GMT

    Quirk indeed altho the stewards will be happy to get paid for coming in on Monday. They can expect to go home as soon as they arrive unless Warwickshire drop a MOAM (Mother of All Miracles).

  • Sudip on April 16, 2017, 21:16 GMT

    Wonder what Mr Ashley Giles thinks now after he left my county Lancashire -he cited that he needed to be closer to his family ( fair dues ) but left Lancashire in a precarious position Just avoiding relegation and did very little else to spark their season -I wish Giles well but his team are all over the place !

  • GeoffreysMother on April 16, 2017, 21:10 GMT

    'Perhaps more pleasing from an England perspective' - George as an experienced journalist you should know that is not ever a term you use when reporting on a Yorkshire match!

  • Michael on April 16, 2017, 21:09 GMT

    Let's not have too much pessimism here. If Jeets and OHD can add another 230 or so Yorkshire could struggle in a run chase - or it might rain all day.

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