Trott and Patel give Warwickshire hope
Warwickshire 422 for 8 (Trott 140*, Patel 89*) trail Yorkshire 600 for 8 dec by 178 runs
It will perhaps come as little surprise to hear of a new raft of betting records at Edgbaston, but even by the standards of this batting paradise, this was a remarkable day's cricket.
With their side in some peril and seemingly facing the inevitable prospect of the follow-on, Jonathan Trott and Jeetan Patel came together to add a so far unbroken stand of 181 in just 34.4 overs. It sets a new Warwickshire record for the ninth-wicket, surpassing the 154 made by George Stephens and Alfred Croom here against Derbyshire in 1925.
Safety is still not ensured, however. Warwickshire are still 178 behind and require another 29 to avoid the follow-on when play resumes on the fourth day. There is hard work ahead of them yet.
If they do, as seems likely, avoid defeat, however, Gerard Brophy will have particularly reason to regret his side's wasted opportunity. The Yorkshire keeper was unable to hold on to a relatively straightforward chance offered by Trott when the batsman had scored just 26 off the bowling of the deserving Ajmal Shahzad. Had it been taken, Warwickshire would have been 157 for 7 and in deep trouble. As it was, they not only lasted the rest of the day, but secured full batting bonus points.
Such a scenario looked unthinkable shortly after lunch as they succumbed to 138 for 6. It was fine bowling rather than poor batting that precipitated the decline, with Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, in particular, producing a superb spell. At one stage he claimed three wickets in seven balls without conceding a run.
At that stage Warwickshire had no answer to Yorkshire's attack. Ian Bell fell to the 12th ball of the day, top edging a pull to mid-on, while Jim Troughton and Rikki Clarke were defeated by magnificent yorkers. A tentative Tim Ambrose edged a good one that left him, while Ian Westwood's pleasing innings was ended when he was forced on to the back foot by a series of short balls and then pinned in front by a full one.
First in Neil Carter, however, and then in Chris Woakes, Trott at last found solid allies. They added 55 and 48 for the seventh and eighth wickets respectively, slowly drawing the sting from the visitors' bowlers as the ball lost its shine. Indeed, as the fightback progressed, Yorkshire's impatient attack seemed to abandon the methods that had served them so well. Instead of the full, straight bowling of the morning, they dropped too short and strayed in line. On this surface, such bowling is fodder.
Matthew Hoggard was especially disappointing. Now alarmingly lacking in pace, he looked the weak link in Yorkshire's attack, and some of the treatment he suffered at Patel's hands bordered on the dismissive. Rashid produced the odd moment of magic, such as the googly that bamboozled Woakes, but as the day wore on the legspin became ragged and it became clear that he still lacks the consistency to progress. Shahzad, generating decent pace from this truculent surface, deserved better for a sustained display of fine fast bowling.
Trott was impressive, however. His one moment of fortune aside, he hardly played another false stroke. Efficient on the off side, he was merciless off his legs and pulled with rare power. His shots down the ground were a delight and, after a slow start (his first 50 occupied 115 deliveries), he accelerated so smoothly that his second 50 took just 58 balls.
Patel has little pedigree as a batsman. His previous career-best was just 58 and, at the start of his innings, he produced some bucolic shots typical of a tail-ender. As he settled, however, he displayed some surprisingly elegant strokes and underlined the impression that this pitch remains as flat as ever. Twice he pulled sixes when Rashid dropped short while some of the cuts and drives through the off side would have delighted any batsman. His score is the highest by a Warwickshire No. 10 in first-class cricket, surpassing the 84 made by Will Bourne here against Oxford University in 1973.
With seven overs lost to poor weather on the third day and more of the same expected on the last, the hosts will feel confident of sustaining their long unbeaten run.