England reject Matthew Hoggard bolstered his bid for a Test recall by taking six for 57, his best County Championship figures for five years, as Yorkshire dominated Hampshire on the third day of their First Division clash at Headingley on Friday.
The 31-year-old, dropped by England after they lost the first Test against New Zealand at Hamilton in March before going on to win the series 2-1, added to the five wickets he'd taken Thursday by striking with the first ball of the third day.
His return was his best for Yorkshire since he took seven wickets in an innings against Somerset at Headingley five years ago and, with conditions at Lord's, where the first Test against New Zealand starts on May 15, expected to assist swing bowlers, Hoggard's Test exile could soon be over.
Hoggard's haul helped Yorkshire enforce the follow-on and at stumps Hampshire, in their second innings, were struggling at 136 for four heading into Saturday's final day of four.
"It is disappointing for Hoggy but we knew when he got left out in New Zealand he would want to come back and prove a point," said Yorkshire stand-in captain Anthony McGrath.
"At the moment you can't get that ball out of his hand, which is great for us. He has done a fantastic job for England and as many people have said it was harsh for him to be left out.
"We want him back playing for England but to do that he has got to bowl like he did today - it is a two-fold thing," McGrath added.
"But if we do lose Hoggy we have got the options to cover, so it's a great position to be in."
Yorkshire captain Darren Gough, the former England fast bowler, is hoping to return from a back injury in a one-day contest against Derbyshire on Sunday, the same day that South Africa quick Morne Morkel, the club's overseas signing, is due to arrive.
"The Championship boils down to who has got the best bowling attack," said McGrath. "I know people talk about runs on the board but you just have to look at (champions) Sussex.
"Take Rana (Naved) and Mushtaq Ahmed's wickets out and it would be a different story, so the more bowlers we have available, the more options we have, the better."
As if to emphasise McGrath's point, former Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq took five for 83 as Kent were bowled out for 204 in reply to Sussex's first innings 303 at Hove.