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Sidebottom swings it Yorkshire's way

Yorkshire 281 (Berg 6-56) and 69 for 1 lead Hampshire 222 (Ervine 80, Vince 60, Brooks 5-53, Sidebottom 3-45) by 128 runs
Scorecard

It is on days like this that it becomes apparent quite how good Yorkshire are. While up in Headingley five White Rose players, including three bowlers, appeared for England in an ODI against Pakistan, down in Southampton, Yorkshire scrapped furiously in the field on a warm afternoon to turn a crucial match back in their favour.

How many of Yorkshire's absent England players would be playing in this match were they available is a matter of debate but if nothing else it is revealing as to the strength in depth and quality at the club that without them they are still able to not only be competitive but successful.

Hampshire have played well for a lot of this match, they have definitely had the better of the conditions and at one point they were trailing by 82 runs with six first-innings wickets in hand, yet they ended the second day 128 behind and requiring a dramatic turnaround to stave off defeat.

If Yorkshire do end up winning a historic third consecutive Championship title, then they may well come to look back on this second afternoon in Southampton as another significant moment in a growing collection of significant moments.

A slow over rate meant that after two hours in the sunshine the afternoon session was extended. Yorkshire's ageing team did not wilt though. Ryan Sidebottom, in his nineteenth county season - red face, sweat-laden hair, grimace and all - was the man who turned the match.

It was going to take a special ball to remove Sean Ervine, who, fresh from centuries in both innings in Taunton had looked in splendid form all afternoon, and a special ball it was. On that in-between length it tempted the left-handed Ervine forwards but it shaped beautifully away before exploding off the pitch like a firecracker to take the shoulder edge of Ervine's bat to be caught behind. Sidebottom charged away in celebration; he knew the importance of the wicket.

A score of 199 for 4 had become 199 for 5 and by the time Lewis McManus had tamely chipped to midwicket off the bowling of Jack Brooks and Sidebottom found Ryan McLaren's edge with a lovely away-swinger, a session that had been extended was ended early with Hampshire seven down. It took just half an hour after tea for Yorkshire to take the final three wickets, all of them falling to Brooks who completed his five wicket-haul. Yorkshire had taken 6 for 23 leaving them with a first-innings lead of 59.

The brilliance of Yorkshire's bowling extended beyond the numbers. To appreciate the effort behind the late afternoon collapse it is necessary to understand what came before. With the clouds high, the air thin and the sun out this was far less of a bowling day than the first, yet Yorkshire drew on all their experience and bowled superbly regardless and never really let Hampshire get away.

Both Brooks and Sidebottom naturally swung the new ball, but less than Hampshire did on day one. Instead they built pressure by bowling immaculate lines, forcing the batsmen to play at the ball, and their stump-to-stump line only required a hint of swing to beat the bat and bring lbw into play. Both Will Smith and Tom Alsop fell in this manner, beaten by lateral movement. Jimmy Adams, clipping to midwicket like McManus after him, would have been disappointed with the manner of his dismissal.

The major partnership of the day was between Ervine and James Vince, as they put on 107 enterprising runs for the fourth wicket either side of the lunch interval. It was during this partnership that Yorkshire's fortitude was revealed. Both Ervine and Vince played beautifully. Ervine crunching boundaries, Vince caressing them. Yet as good as they looked and as unhelpful as the conditions were after lunch a wicket never looked far away simply because Yorkshire didn't relent; bad balls were rare and good balls, somehow, kept coming.

Just as Vince brought up his second 50-plus score of the season - his first incidentally was a century against Yorkshire in April - and just as he was beginning to look like the player he has been a spectre of since being called up to the Test side, Tim Bresnan tempted a shot and the edge was taken at second slip.

It must have all felt painfully familiar to Vince. Not for the first time this summer he had played at a ball that he didn't need to play at. Not for the first time this summer he had played a good innings that ultimately wasn't good enough. Not for the first time this summer, for both Hampshire as well as Vince, the opposition were just too good.