Hampshire 14 for 1 trail Yorkshire 181 (Kohler-Cadmore 45, Edwards 5-49, Fuller 3-51) by 167 runs
Fidel Edwards is 37 years old. He can also be rather a taciturn fellow. But neither of these things was of much moment this afternoon as the West Indian took four wickets in 12 balls to help dismiss Yorkshire for 188 on a day which might otherwise have been remembered primarily for its delayed start, its five interruptions and the stately gavotte of the covers.
Edwards is still capable of bowling at a decent lick. He does not need to pepper batsmen with bouncers although he spices his overs with the short stuff to prevent opponents thinking they can play him off the front foot with impunity. But his greatest strengths remain his accuracy and his ability to generate pace with a low slingy action.
Yorkshire were already modestly placed on 170 for 5 when Edwards was called into the attack from the Kirkstall Lane End just before half-past-five on this first evening. But half an hour later their innings was in total ruin. Jonny Tattersall was tempted to nibble at one which moved a little off the seam and was caught behind for 14. Next over Edwards accounted for David Willey when the all-rounder who was last week omitted from England's World Cup squad attempted one drive over the top too many and was caught at mid-on by Keith Barker for 34.
Willey's dismissal was a vital breakthrough for Hampshire. The Yorkshire batsman had been given a warm welcome by the Headingley crowd and, as if intent on showing England what they were missing, had hit six powerful boundaries. It is no wonder his services are still highly valued by Yorkshire officials, quite regardless of the interest apparently shown by Warwickshire last week.
But Edwards claimed his scalp and followed this success five balls later by bowling Steve Patterson for a duck with a trademark full-length delivery. Ben Coad suffered the same fate in the next over and thus Edwards finished with season's best figures of 5 for 49, the 25th five-wicket haul of his long career. "Fidel blew some toes off," said James Fuller later.
Yet Fuller, too, deserves credit for his contribution on a day when Hampshire did not greatly miss Kyle Abbott, who was ruled out of this match with a slight calf strain. Indeed, despite losing the toss and making a sluggish start against the Yorkshire openers, Harry Brook and Adam Lyth, Fuller and Barker were soon making the sort of breakthroughs their team needed on a wicket where the ball regularly nipped around. Left-arm seamer Barker produced good balls to take the edges of both Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance's bats and those successes followed the departure of Harry Brook, who inside-edged Edwards on to his stumps in the eighth over.
The loss of three wickets in 45 minutes after lunch was followed by Yorkshire's most encouraging cricket of the day as Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Jack Leaning put on 51 runs in 21 careful overs and took the score to 116 for 3 before Leaning edged Fuller to Ajinkya Rahane at slip. Then Kohler-Cadmore, who had produced the pleasantest batting of the day, twice driving Fuller down the ground for four, was yorked by the former Gloucestershire and Middlesex seamer for 45. It was an innings which promised rather more than it delivered but the promise, in Kohler-Cadmore's case, should be enough to excite Yorkshire supporters at this early stage of the season.
The rest of the day belonged almost exclusively to Edwards and the Hampshire attack. One doubts Mason Crane got near to bowling an over. Yorkshire gained a late boost when Oli Soames was leg before to Ben Coad when only five balls were left in a day from which 27 overs had been trimmed by showers which were never far away. And yes, the shape of this game has yet to become clear. But Hampshire can be satisfied with their efforts and Edwards can sleep well this evening.