RYAN SIDEBOTTOM last night told of his frustration at missing over three months of the season through injury, the former England left-armer marking his return to action with the latest milestone in a golden career.
On his first first-team appearance since the corresponding game at Edgbaston in April, after he damaged his ankle in a football-related accident, Sidebottom captured his 400th first-class wicket for the club, 238 of which have been taken since he rejoined Yorkshire from Notts for the 2011 season.
The 38-year-old pace bowler returned 3-41 from 15 overs as Yorkshire dismissed Warwickshire for 179 in reply to their own first innings 257, which had been boosted by a vital last-wicket stand of 53 between Sidebottom and Steve Patterson, the latter falling 10 minutes into the start of day two when he was caught at cover off a leading edge.
Yorkshire extended their advantage to 156 at stumps, Alex Lees top-scoring with 39 out of 78-5, to leave the contest compellingly poised, albeit with Yorkshire appearing slightly ahead.
Sidebottom, who ended the day with 401 first-class wickets for the county at 22.67, was pleased to make a successful return.
“It’s been a stinking three months, I’ve been pulling my hair out,” he said.
“I had a fractured fibula (ankle) and was in a pot for eight-to-nine weeks, but the club have really looked after me and I played the last three weeks for the second team, playing with lads who weren’t even born when I made my debut, which was a bit of an eye-opener.
“I’m just delighted to be back and happy to contribute, and it was nice to get to 400 wickets.
“Dizzy (first-team coach Jason Gillespie) announced it to the lads in the dressing room, which was a nice touch.”
After a fascinating first day, which Yorkshire ended on 252-9, the value of that total was put into perspective as Sidebottom and co set about their work.
That total always seemed better in reality than it might have done in black-and-white, and so it proved on a challenging pitch.
It took Yorkshire just eight balls of the Warwickshire reply to strike as Jack Brooks, who was also returning from injury, had Andy Umeed caught low down at third slip by Jack Leaning.
Warwickshire lost two wickets in six balls with the score on 26 as Sidebottom shaped one back to trap Varun Chopra lbw before Brooks drew a curious stroke from Jonathan Trott, who miscued an attempted pull straight back to the bowler.
Brooks was impressive during an opening spell from the Pavilion End that spawned only eight runs in six overs to go with the brace of wickets, and there was no let-up in the pressure as Patterson struck with his fourth delivery after replacing Sidebottom at the Rugby Stand End.
Ian Bell, on two, drove Patterson to Adil Rashid at backward-point, the former England batsman casting a rueful glance back at the pitch before dragging himself off, as though he felt the ball had stopped on him a touch.
Patterson pounced again soon after lunch to leave Warwickshire 80-5, after which a flurry of boundaries by Hain and Rikki Clarke threatened a dangerous counter-attack.
But it proved only of nuisance value as Sidebottom dismissed Hain to record his 400th wicket, Tim Bresnan playing his part with a terrific catch low down at first slip that he made look much easier than it actually was.
Sidebottom, who took his 700th first-class wicket during a triple-wicket maiden against Middlesex at Lord’s last September that helped Yorkshire clinch the title, was operating from the unfamiliar territory of the Kirkstall Lane end.
It was a timely wicket, for Hain had looked threatening on his way to 48 from 82 deliveries.
Clarke, too, looked threatening (his first 24 runs were all boundaries), and he added 51 for the seventh-wicket with Keith Barker.
But when Rashid trapped Barker lbw, it triggered a collapse that saw Warwickshire lose their last four wickets for 16 runs inside six overs.
Rashid struck again when Jeetan Patel spooned to Sidebottom at mid-on, the leg-spinner claiming his third wicket when he bowled Chris Wright for a duck.
Sidebottom finished things off when former Yorkshire pace bowler Oliver Hannon-Dalby was caught behind for a golden duck, Clarke finishing unbeaten on 50 from 71 balls.
Leading by 78, Yorkshire were given a flying start to their second innings by Adam Lyth and Alex Lees, who added 43 in 14 overs before Lyth chased a wide one from Clarke and was caught at first slip by Chopra.
Travis Head was dropped at first slip by Chopra off Clarke, but he had not added to his tally of two runs when the same combination promptly did for him.
It was Clarke’s turn to take a slip catch when Andrew Gale pushed forward to Patel, and Clarke claimed another wicket when he bowled the driving Leaning, ending a painstaking stand of 15 with Lees in 14 overs.
Patterson was sent in as nightwatchman and Clarke trapped him lbw first ball, but Lees and Rashid held firm until stumps.