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Purple patch shows value of Steve Patterson
Steve Patterson took three wickets in an over to rescue Yorkshire’s batsmen during a pulsating day of County Championship cricket against Essex at Headingley.
The seamer vindicated the decision to select him ahead of Iain Wardlaw following a mid-afternoon batting disaster, which saw the hosts slip from 184-2 to 246 all out despite a century from Phil Jaques.
The Australian was one of only three Yorkshire batsmen who looked comfortable at the crease during an attacking 126 off 162 balls, including 21 fours and a top-edged six over long leg’s head.
He shared 96 for the second wicket with Joe Sayers (32) and 86 for the third wicket with skipper Andrew Gale, who made 35. It was Jaques’ eighth Championship century for the county, and his first in first-class cricket for 14 months.
After Ryan Sidebottom took two wickets with successive deliveries, Patterson then got rid of Alviro Petersen, Adam Wheater and Greg Smith in the 20th over of the Essex innings to reduce them from 42-2 to 42-5.
Gale, who saw Essex close on 72-5 from 31 overs with Ravi Bopara and James Foster unbeaten, described Yorkshire’s collapse as a “mad hour”.
“That day had it all,” he said. “There was some great batting, some awful batting, some good bowling and some bad bowling.
“For us to get in a good position, it was really disappointing to get bowled out for what we did. At 180-2, you’d expect to get 350-plus at least. Even batting badly, you’d still expect to scrape 350.
“I don’t know what it is, but wickets keep on falling in clusters for us. It’s not a technical thing because the lads work really hard in the nets. It must be a mental thing. It’s something I’ve addressed in the dressing room.”
The hosts were undone by England Lions left-arm fast bowler Tymal Mills, who took a career-best 4-62 from 13 overs.
Mills, born in Dewsbury before moving to Suffolk at the age of two, is rated as one of county cricket’s fastest bowlers, and he lived up to that billing here.
He had Sayers caught behind down the leg-side in the final over of the morning session, bringing some symmetry to proceedings after Joe Root fell in the first following Gale’s decision to bat first.
The 19-year-old then got Jonny Bairstow caught in the slips, Gary Ballance caught at long-leg and Anthony McGrath trapped lbw as he offered no shot as Yorkshire crumbled.
It would have been some surprise to Mills, therefore, that his side head into day three on the rack courtesy of Sidebottom and Patterson.
While Mills tore in and did Yorkshire’s batsmen for pace, Patterson and Sidebottom did Essex for accuracy. The likes of Petersen, South Africa’s new Test opener, struggled to cope with enough movement on offer.
Petersen and Smith, out from the first and last balls of the 20th, were trapped lbw, while Wheater was caught behind.
“Patto bowled a fantastic spell,” added Gale. “I thought he only bowled four bad balls in eight overs.”
There is a note of caution for Yorkshire, however. They have a history of struggling to polish off the tail, which has to improve here and now.