Barker counters Ballance
Gary Ballance’s eighth half-century of the LV= County Championship season ensured it was honours even after the first day of Yorkshire’s Division One clash with Warwickshire at Headingley Carnegie.
The 21-year-old left-hander struck eight classy fours either side of the wicket in his 103-ball innings to allow Yorkshire to register 297 all out, but a first century of the season still eludes him after he was tamely caught at short-leg for 57.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, the hosts were cruising at 120 for one and eyeing a big first-innings total, but Warwickshire - missing their top three frontline bowlers - took wickets at regular intervals, with left-arm seamer Keith Barker the pick of the attack, claiming 4-73 with a fine show of swing bowling.
Only Anthony McGrath failed to reach double figures for Yorkshire, with the rest guilty of not going on having made starts, and it was left to some lower-order hitting from David Wainwright, who was last man out for 32, to take his side even close to the 300-mark.
Warwickshire’s new-ball pair of Barker and Neil Carter found a good length outside off stump and restricted Yorkshire to just two boundaries in the opening 13 overs, both coming from the bat of stand-in skipper Jacques Rudolph.
The South African looked to have broken the shackles when he hit back-to-back fours off first-change Chris Wright - both sumptuous cover drives - but he was walking back to the pavilion in the next over with the score on 40 when he was trapped in front by a Barker inswinger for 24.
Joe Root, fresh from his career-best 160 against Sussex at Scarborough last week, soon found his groove again and got off the mark with a drive through backward point, while Sayers hit his first boundary, from his 45th ball, in the next over.
Sayers had to wait until his 80th delivery to find the rope again when he punched a straight drive back past Darren Maddy before pulling him high over square-leg in his next over.
The second-wicket stand was extended to 80 after lunch but it was brought to an end when Root was lbw for 26 playing across the line to Wright.
Sayers looked much more positive after the break, hitting three classy fours, but he was dismissed in the next over with the score still on 120 when he dragged an outswinger from Barker into his stumps to depart for a 119-ball 47.
Despite being without Chris Woakes and Boyd Rankin - both on international duty - and the injured Rikki Clarke, Warwickshire were bowling well and McGrath was next to go for eight as he became Wright’s second victim when he edged to first slip to Varun Chopra. Yorkshire had lost three wickets for 14 runs.
Ballance took the score above 150 with successive boundaries off the back foot and the 50 partnership with Gerard Brophy was brought up off just 73 balls when the left-hander crashed a short delivery from Maddy through the covers.
Brophy was not at the crease much longer, though, as Barker had him caught by Chris Metters at slip for 19, but Ballance kept the attack up to go to a 95-ball fifty containing seven fours.
Warwickshire stuck to their task and Metters removed Adil Rashid, who played a loose shot, before claiming the prized wicket of Ballance.
Barker picked up his fourth wicket with the second new ball when he bowled Richard Pyrah through the gate for 18.
Wainwright went on to the offensive, hitting four fours and sharing a stand of 32 with Sidebottom before the latter was caught behind off Neil Carter.
Wainwright was dismissed by what proved to be the last ball of the day when he missed a straight one from Metters, who finished with 3-31, as Yorkshire missed out on a third batting point.