Gale and Leaning dig in as Tykes are put on back foot

Alex Lees and Will Rhodes
Alex Lees and Will Rhodes
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Yorkshire fought grimly to avoid the possibility of the follow-on after Warwickshire had stretched out their first innings to 435 on the second day of the LV= County Championship match at Headingley.

The Champions, unbeaten at home last season, closed on 128-3, still 158 from their safety target of 286.

In a hard-fought encounter, Ian Westwood was the stand-out player during Warwickshire’s marathon knock which lasted for 143.3 overs.

Westwood, 151 not out overnight, looked all set for a faultless double century until he fell lbw to off-spinner, James Middlebrook, for a career-best 196 from 377 balls with 25 boundaries.

The left-hander’s previous highest first class score was 178 against West Indies A at Edgbaston nine years ago – two runs more than his Championship best off Glamorgan’s attack at Cardiff in 2008. His departure brought Middlebrook his first wicket since rejoining his native county as a temporary replacement for Adil Rashid, who is with England in the Caribbean.

Westwood’s gritty defiance and unwavering concentration meant that Yorkshire had to dig deep for every wicket and none did so more successfully than Tim Bresnan who ended up with his first five wicket haul (5-85) in almost three years.

He would have been in with a chance of the first six-wicket return of his career had skipper Andrew Gale not rested him when Warwickshire had nine wickets down.

Things also worked out well for Middlebrook who earned figures of 3-96 from his 31.3 overs.

Warwickshire’s lower order all made useful contributions but the game was so tightly contested that at the 110 overs stage the total was only 309-5, each side missing out on two bonus points.

When Yorkshire batted, 20-year-old Will Rhodes was quickly out of the blocks with a couple of fiercely-struck boundaries off Chris Wright and the innings had moved smoothly on to 35 when Lees was dropped by Keith Barker at deep mid-off as he drove uppishly at Jeetan Patel.

He did not benefit from the escape, however, because in Patel’s next over, the last before tea, Lees was forced back on to his stumps and pinned lbw by the spinner for 19.

India batsman, Cheteshwar Pujara opened his account with three powerful boundary shots, but Yorkshire lost two wickets on 88, the second of them in controversial circumstances.

First, Rhodes tried to drive Patel over mid-on but failed to clear Boyd Rankin and was out for 46, his third consecutive score in the 40s after opening his Championship career with a duck.

Rankin joined the attack at the football end and Pujara nicked his second delivery to wicketkeeper Peter McKay who dropped the ball but claimed to have scooped it up again before it hit the ground. Rankin only half appealed initially, thinking the ball had gone down, but McKay was sure the catch was clean and umpires Steven Garratt and Jeremy Lloyds consulted for a long while before giving Pujara out to loud boos from a section of the crowd.

Jack Leaning hit three boundaries through the off-side in one over from Rankin and he was there at the end with Gale having put on 40 between them.

Score: Headingley Carnegie: Warwickshire 435 (IJ Westwood 196, SR Hain 50, TT Bresnan 5-85); Yorkshire 128-3.