Rudolph and Bairstow hasten victory
A century stand between Jacques Rudolph and Jonathan Bairstow paved the way for Yorkshire to complete a roller-coaster victory over Warwickshire in their opening LV= County Championship Division One match.
With Andrew Gale installed as a new captain after last year’s struggle against relegation, the White Rose county stood up to be counted throughout a tightly-fought match before finally sprinting to a four-wicket win with a session to spare.
Rudolph, unbeaten on 69 after completing his second half-century of the match, gave Yorkshire a base from which Bairstow was able to dominate with 81 out of 153 in a partnership spanning only 27 overs.
Set a target of 291 for victory, the odds seemed to be stacking up against Yorkshire as they slipped to 130 for five at lunch after Neil Carter and Imran Tahir had reached personal milestones with two wickets each.
Carter showed there was still something in the pitch for the seamers when Ajmal Shahzad, a defiant nightwatchman through 16 overs, was leg-before to the left-arm bowler’s fourth delivery of the day.
When opener Adam Lyth was out for 67, flicking a leg-side catch to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose, Carter claimed his 250th wicket in a 10-year first-class career that began with Boland in his native South Africa.
At this stage a seam-and-spin partnership was threatening to derail Yorkshire. While Carter made the initial breakthrough, Tahir put Warwickshire into contention with two prime wickets in the space of three overs.
Anthony McGrath stepped in front of his stumps and played across the line to be plumb lbw for 16 and Gale failed to score before pushing forward and giving a routine catch to Jonathan Trott at second slip.
None of the early batsmen looked secure as Tahir, born in Pakistan and qualified for South Africa at the end of last year, bagged his 100th wicket in 20 championship matches since taking 12 on his debut for Hampshire in July 2008.
With five in his first outing for a new county, he could be the missing link in Warwickshire’s bowling options, but his guile was not enough to knock Rudolph and Bairstow out of their stride.
After a cautious performance by Yorkshire up to lunch, the sixth-wicket pair changed the tactics in a guns-blazing counter attack.
With 161 still required, the visitors were home and dry in less than two hours before tea.
Bairstow, compensating for two dropped chances in his wicketkeeping role, was only three short of his career-best when he drove Carter to Chris Woakes at mid-on after hitting 14 fours from 104 balls.
The ever-reliable Rudolph finished with 13 fours from 98 deliveries.