STEVE PATTERSON is nicknamed ‘Dead’ by his team-mates, but he breathed life into Yorkshire’s efforts at Scarborough yesterday.
The 31-year-old pace bowler is perhaps not one of cricket’s most animated characters – hence the affectionate monicker.
But put a cricket ball in his hand and he is as lively as the best of them, as he proved on the second day at North Marine Road.
After Yorkshire lifted their overnight 357-5 to 430 all-out, with captain Andrew Gale scoring 164, Patterson took three of the wickets as Worcestershire replied with 195-6.
It was characteristic stuff from the Beverley-born Patterson, who probed away on or around off stump with a surgeon’s precision.
He is the cricketing equivalent of Chinese water torture, constantly landing the ball on the same spot until the poor old batsman is driven insane.
On a day when 20 overs were lost to a combination of rain and bad light, Patterson was Yorkshire’s most successful bowler.
In an attack boasting Ryan Sidebottom, Jack Brooks, Tim Bresnan, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid, four of them full internationals, that was clearly no mean feat.
Patterson, who captured a career-best 5-11 in the corresponding game at New Road in April, took his first wicket with his seventh ball from the Trafalgar Square end.
It was the first delivery after a 20-minute rain delay, and it was the key wicket of Daryl Mitchell, the Worcestershire captain, trapped lbw pushing half-forward.
Mitchell’s dismissal left Worcestershire 53-2 after Brooks had removed fellow opener Richard Oliver with the total on 32.
The left-hander drove at a ball outside off stump and was brilliantly pouched by Plunkett leaping high to his right at fourth slip, a catch that fell firmly into the category marked ‘worldie’.
Before a crowd of 3,600 (an improvement on the first day figure of 2,450, although still slightly disappointing given Yorkshire’s position at the top of the table), Plunkett got his name in the wickets column when he had Tom Fell caught at second slip by Jack Leaning, low to his left.
Patterson then made a double intervention just before tea.
Having switched to the Peasholm Park end, he enticed Brett D’Oliveira to edge behind to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow to leave Worcestershire 109-4.
Patterson followed up having Ross Whiteley – who hammered 91 not out from 35 balls with 11 sixes when the sides met at Headingley in the T20 Blast last Tuesday – caught by Leaning at second slip as the visitors slipped to 119-5.
It was pretty much the last action before bad light forced an early tea, followed by a heavy shower and more bad light.
Play resumed at 5.55, but only three balls were possible before umpires Russell Evans and David Millns decided the light had deteriorated further.
Quite a few spectators gave up at that stage, but the dark clouds dispersed and the action restarted at 6.15.
The last 14.3 overs were played out in bright sunshine in which Worcestershire played some bright cricket too, the sixth-wicket pair of Joe Clarke and Ben Cox stretching their sixth-wicket stand to 56 before Cox chipped Brooks to Rashid at mid-wicket.
Clarke finished on a career-best 76 from 105 balls with five fours and a six, but Worcestershire still have a fight on their hands to get out of trouble.
They have predictably been second-best so far, despite the fact Yorkshire have hardly had to get out of second gear themselves.
What Worcestershire do possess, though, is plenty of spirit, which may yet carry them free of the relegation zone.
But they will do well indeed to prevent Yorkshire from recording a fifth successive Championship win.
Yorkshire had begun the day on 357-5, with Gale on 127 and Tim Bresnan 17.
The second new ball was still in its infancy, and Bresnan perished in the morning’s fourth over when he was drawn forward by a good delivery from Joe Leach and superbly caught by Whiteley at first slip, moving to his left.
Liam Plunkett was caught behind off Charlie Morris from one that lifted from just short of a length, and Morris followed up by bowling Patterson for a single and having Jack Brooks caught at first slip by Whiteley for a duck.
It gave Morris 3-1 in 13 balls during an impressive burst from the Trafalgar Square end.
Gale, who reached his 150 from 285 balls with 17 fours, had a life on 164 when he was dropped at point by Clarke off Morris.
He had not added to his score when he was last out 25 minutes before lunch, caught by Mitchell running back from slip as he tried to scoop a delivery from Shantry over third man.
Gale, who faced 297 balls in total and struck 19 boundaries, had thus achieved his second-highest score in first-class cricket.
His highest was at this ground two years ago – 272 not out against Nottinghamshire.