AARON FINCH demonstrated his versatility with a maiden century for Yorkshire as they pressed ahead against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
The powerful Australian hit 110 off 146 balls, only his third first-class century, as the White Rose reached close on day two of their tenth LV= County Championship match this summer on 422 all out in reply to 228, a lead of 194.
Finch is ranked as the world’s number one Twenty20 batsman, but he has struggled to transfer that form to first-class cricket during a 43-match career for Victoria, Australia 'A' and now Yorkshire.
This was his first four-day century since July 2011 when Australia 'A' toured Zimbabwe.
The 27-year-old shared a fifth-wicket stand of 92 in 22 overs with York's Jonny Bairstow either side of lunch and 123 in 30 for the sixth either side of tea with Rich Pyrah.
While Finch will take all the headlines, Bairstow’s 68 and Pyrah’s 62 were crucial in helping the White Rose advance from 150-4 before lunch.
Although it was a reasonably healthy score, a couple of quick wickets could have seen the day pan out differently. Steve Patterson also added a useful 32 from number eight after tea.
"It was nice to contribute to a couple of big partnerships," said Finch, who kissed the White Rose on his helmet upon reaching his hundred. "It was pretty pleasing to get my first hundred for Yorkshire.
"It's a great place to be a part of, and I'm very grateful that they've given me the opportunity to play some cricket. I'm happy that I've got some runs. Hopefully we can bowl really well and win a match.
"Four-day cricket's been a part of my game that's been lacking in the past, and one that I've under performed in. To get the opportunity here on the back of a couple of poor seasons for Victoria, I'm very grateful.”
Although Finch demonstrated the power we have become accustomed to in limited overs cricket with nine fours and three sixes - he went from 86 to 100 in the space of four balls against Keith Barker in the 85th over - he was also happy to accumulate the ones and twos.
Warwickshire, who surprisingly underused their off-spinner Jeetan Patel, are now battling to avoid a second innings defeat to the White Rose this season.
If Yorkshire complete the win during the next couple of days, it would be a second in four matches for Finch, who makes his last scheduled Championship appearance against Durham on July 7 with Kane Williamson due back.
He is then due to travel back to Australia for a national training camp at the end of the month, although he hinted that Cricket Australia could be persuaded to let him stay longer and play limited overs cricket.
“I think the club’s going to chat and see how it goes,” he added. “Kane’s obviously coming back for the four-day stuff, but it’s something we’ll have to wait and see on with Cricket Australia.”
LV= County Championship
Warwickshire v Yorkshire
Warwickshire First Innings 228 (J S Patel 63no).
Yorkshire First Innings
A Lyth c Patel b Woakes 11
A Z Lees c Ambrose b Woakes 64
J A Leaning c Chopra b Woakes 0
A W Gale c Ambrose b Wright 49
J M Bairstow b Rankin 68
A J Finch c Ambrose b Rankin 110
R M Pyrah lbw b Clarke 62
S A Patterson c Porterfield b Patel 32
R J Sidebottom c Ambrose b Wright 8
J A Brooks c Chopra b Barker 3
K Carver not out 2
Extras (b1 lb10 nb2) 13
Total (117.3 overs) 422
Fall: 1-31 2-37 3-112 4-150 5-242 6-365 7-387 8-417 9-419.
Bowling: Barker 15.3-2-68-1, Woakes 24-4-81-3, Clarke 20-1-61-1, Wright 23-2-94-2, Rankin 21-2-79-2, Patel 14-6-28-1.