Warwickshire 100 for 4 (Bell 55*) trail Northamptonshire 256 (Crook 92, Bracewell 81, Brookes 4-54) by 156 runs
Top v bottom made for engrossing fare at Edgbaston where Warwickshire closed the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match on 100 for 4 in reply to Northamptonshire's 256.
When the visitors, having chosen to bat, plummeted to 102 for 7, it appeared that Division Two leaders Warwickshire were heading for total command.
Bracewell then quickly removed both Warwickshire openers and Northamptonshire, without key men Rob Newton (broken finger) and Richard Gleeson (elbow injury), showed their resilience to add the further wickets of Jonathan Trott and Sam Hain to totally even up a day which they had started so wretchedly.
Their morning of woe began with the 13th ball which Ben Duckett nicked behind off Chris Wright. Henry Brookes then delivered almost-unplayable outswingers which clipped Alex Wakely's off-stump and induced an edge from Richard Levi to slip.
At 29 for 3, a daft run out was the last thing Northamptonshire needed but that's what came along when Luke Procter attempted a second run to third man and was beaten by Brookes' accurate throw.
Former Northants bowler Olly Stone struck with his first ball, which Adam Rossington edged behind, before Brookes trapped Rob Keogh lbw to leave the visitors 52 for 6.
Crook and Josh Cobb (39) counter-attacked to add 50 in nine overs and, after the latter lifted Stone to point, Crook and Bracewell saw their side to their first batting point of 2018. Crook was eight short of a well-deserved century when he tickled a leg-side delivery from Jeetan Patel to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose.
A superb catch by Ambrose, off Wright, removed Brett Hutton to leave last pair Bracewell and Ben Sanderson with 21 to find to acquire a second batting point. They managed that before Bracewell lofted Brookes to deep point to leave the 18-year-old with 4 for 54, having harvested career-best bowling figures for the third successive innings.
Bracewell then inflicted swift damage with the ball when he had openers Dominic Sibley and Will Rhodes snared in the slips from his fifth and 24th balls respectively. Hutton trapped Trott lbw in his first over and Hain was adjudged lbw, offering no shot, to Crook, leaving Warwickshire leaning heavily on the class of Ian Bell.