Tim Ambrose led a superb fightback by Warwickshire on the second day of their crucial championship match against Yorkshire at Scarborough.
Ambrose is one of several Bears batsmen to have struggled desperately for runs during the last two months. In just one of his previous 12 championship innings, he had reached 50.
But on the second day at North Marine Road he showed the courage and skill to attack his way out of his own lean streak – and his team out of huge bother.
After Warwickshire limped to 53 for four on a rain-hit first day, Ambrose struck 113 to underpin a recovery to 320 all out. The wicket-keeper rode his luck at times but deserved his good fortune for a positive innings that turned the match on its head.
The Bears began the day in a hole. Yorkshire ended it in a deeper one after Streesanth and Naqaash Tahir shared six wickets to reduce them to 100 for seven – still 71 adrift of the follow-on.
Ambrose’s ninth first-class century came from just 150 balls with 20 fours, including four off successive balls from Deon Kruis.
He rarely failed to punish a bad ball, particularly savage on anything short, on the way to his first championship century since the opening match of the season.
Not for the first time this summer the Bears’ middle and lower order dug in capably to repair damage caused by the loss of early wickets.
Ambrose added 85 in 21 overs with Tony Frost, 40 in eight with Rikki Clarke and then a highly entertaining 110 in 19 with Neil Carter. Recalled to the championship team, Carter celebrated with a typically stroke-studded 67 from 59 balls with ten fours and two sixes.
While he was adding a century stand with Ambrose, the Bears were even eyeing a surprise tilt at maximum batting points but with the fall of Ambrose, chipping to mid-wicket, the innings lost momentum and the last four wickets fell for 32.
However, momentum was well and truly back with Warwickshire after just five balls of Yorkshire’s reply. Intelligent captaincy was rewarded when Jacques Rudolph chopped Sreesanth’s first ball to point. That was a victory for homework, Rudolph having perished exactly that way, also first ball, in the Roses match last week. Later in the over, Anthony McGrath edged to Ambrose and the Bears had Yorkshire in a tangle.
Tahir’s rewards were longer arriving but fully deserved.
The seamer was in his seventh over when Andrew Gale clipped to mid-wicket and his eighth when potential limpet Joe Sayers lifted to short mid-off. In each case, the fielders were astutely placed.
A giant question mark may lurk over Ian Westwood’s batting but his captaincy, while not always as inspired as yesterday, is generally pretty good.
Carter, bowling to a menacing full length from the Trafalgar Square End, removed Jonathan Bairstow, caught at first slip before Sreesanth returned, generating high pace, to have Ajmal Shahzad and Richard Pyrah taken in the slips to round off Warwickshire’s best day of the season.