By Dave Bracegirdle
Day 4 - Tea
Despite a swashbuckling cameo from Samit Patel, Warwickshire picked up their first Specsavers County Championship victory of the season when they defeated Nottinghamshire by 53 runs at Trent Bridge.
Patel scored 124, making his runs from just 82 balls, hitting 12 fours, a five and eight sixes in a brutal act of defiance. Set to score 227 to win, Patel was deprived of any support and Notts were bowled out for 173 in 36.4 overs.
Keith Barker claimed the wickets of Greg Smith and Riki Wessels with consecutive deliveries, to add to the two he’d claimed on the third evening, in collecting figures of four for 38 for the Bears.
"Even at three wickets down last night, we knew it was going to be a pretty fast scoring ground. We knew that somebody would put in a cameo from somewhere and I think Samit has played one of the innings of the season."
Play didn’t start until 2.45pm after overnight rain and morning drizzle had saturated the outfield but it only took 17 deliveries before Barker had turned the overnight score of 21 for three into 25 for five.
Samit Patel doesn’t believe in lost causes though and set about the Warwickshire attack, smashing 10 boundaries in a 36-ball 50.
His first maximum came from the bowling of Rikki Clarke but it was Jeetan Patel who bore the full brunt of his ferocious strokeplay.
The former New Zealand international had dismissed Chris Read for nought with just his fifth ball but then had to withstand a vicious assault from his namesake.
Despite blocking a few balls and turning down a few singles to control the strike, Samit Patel’s hundred came from just 68 deliveries, with 12 fours, a five and five maximums and he hit three more sixes – hitting seven of his eight sixes off Jeetan Patel - before being caught in the deep as the match ended.
Warwickshire had faced little resistance from the other end, with Brett Hutton making only two and Jackson Bird added a single but they were starting to get anxious before Sam Hain held on to the winning catch, off Chris Wright’s bowling.
The victory was the Bears first success in the championship since last July and the 23 points gained lifts them to the top of the Division One table.
Dougie Brown, Director of Cricket, said “There were bits of that match I didn’t enjoy watching particularly and I’ve certainly realised that Ian Bell is the worst cricket watcher in the world (the inured Bell was watching on from the dressing room) but in the end it was really pleasing to get out with a win but right up until the last day the game was in the balance.
“Even at three wickets down last night, we knew it was going to be a pretty fast scoring ground. We knew that somebody would put in a cameo from somewhere and I think Samit has played one of the innings of the season.
“He played exceptionally well. We didn’t bowl very well at him, to get him going but once he was in he played as well as we’ve seen anybody play, so to get across the line after being 17 for four (on the first morning) is incredibly pleasing.”
A thrilling conclusion is in prospect at Trent Bridge after 16 wickets fell on the third day of the Specsavers County Championship match between Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire.
Notts closed the day on 21 for three, having been set a victory target of 227, with Keith Barker (2) and Chris Woakes sharing the wickets.
Amongst their haul was nightwatchman Luke Fletcher, who minutes earlier had left the field to a hero’s ovation after transforming the contest as Warwickshire were bowled out for 236 in their second innings.
Fletcher took four for 25, picking up the wickets of Varun Chopra, who made 82, Tim Ambrose and Barker in quick succession as the visitors lost their way after tea. Samit Patel also weighed in with four wickets, at a personal cost of 71.
Jonathan Trott played the other innings of note and looked in imperious form as he sped to 59 from 60 deliveries, scoring his runs in a partnership of 77 with Chopra.
"Barker then removed both Steven Mullaney and Michael Lumb in the closing moments of the day"
At one stage he hit seven boundaries in just 12 balls but was then undone by one from Patel that kept low and pinned him lbw.
Fletcher’s first wicket was that of Ian Westwood, caught for just a single, taking his output to just 15 runs from six completed innings this season.
A brilliant piece of fielding by Jackson Bird ran out Laurie Evans with a direct hit and Sam Hain then edged Bird through to Chris Read.
Warwickshire’s last six wickets fell for only 56 runs at the start of the final session, a tally boosted by a last wicket stand of 34 between captain Woakes and Chris Wright.
Barker then removed both Steven Mullaney and Michael Lumb in the closing moments of the day, leaving Greg Smith and Brendan Taylor at the crease with Notts requiring 206 more runs.
During the morning session the home side, resuming from 316 for seven, batted on for a further 80 minutes before losing their final wicket on 383, a lead of just 10.
Brett Hutton reached his first 50 of the summer from 72 balls, hitting eight boundaries and a five, but then steered Clarke to Evans in the gully for 59.
Bird drove Clarke for the boundary that edged Notts ahead but then mistimed a pull against Chris Wright and ballooned the ball to Jeetan Patel at midwicket.
Fletcher had twice needed treatment after being struck by painful blows, one to the hand and one to the body, but he bravely battled his way to 29 before falling to Clarke’s slower ball, giving the bowler final figures of four for 72.
Michael Lumb registered the twentieth first class century of his career to edge Nottinghamshire towards first innings parity in their Specsavers County Championship game against Warwickshire at Trent Bridge.
Lumb hit 20 boundaries in his 193 ball innings of 108 as Notts reached the close on 316 for seven, still 57 runs behind Warwickshire’s first innings score of 373.
For the visitors, Keith Barker, Rikki Clarke and Chris Woakes all picked up two wickets in a disciplined display with the ball.
On the sixth anniversary of England’s ICC World T20 victory, of which Lumb played a pivotal role, the left-hander registered his first hundred since September 2013, when he made 107 against Somerset.
Now 36, he survived a nervy opening when a nick almost carried to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose, before he’d scored. He soon found his touch, racing to a 48-ball half century but then got bogged down and spent an hour in adding the two runs to take him from 72 to 74.
Steven Mullaney made 56, adding 98 for the second wicket with Lumb, after Greg Smith, who had been dropped by Jonathan Trott on 10, edged Barker to Clarke at second slip, for 26.
" Keith Barker, Rikki Clarke and Chris Woakes all picked up two wickets in a disciplined display with the ball"
Brendan Taylor was also taken by Ambrose, nicking the bowling of Barker for 16 and Riki Wessels was trapped in front by Clarke for just 6.
Clarke’s nagging accuracy brought further reward with the wicket of Samit Patel, whose mistimed pull found its way into the hands of Varun Chopra at first slip.
With the lead still in three figures, Lumb’s splendid knock came to an end when the spin of Jeetan Patel found the outside edge and Clarke took his second catch of the day.
Chris Read made 23 before falling to Woakes, leaving Brett Hutton to steer the home side through to the end of play. Hutton’s unbeaten 35 includes a five, after substitute fielder Mark Adair’s throw narrowly missed the stumps and went for overthrows.
Earlier, Nottinghamshire needed 12 deliveries to close out the Warwickshire first innings at the start of the day. With only a single added to their overnight score, Jeetan Patel deliberately lifted Harry Gurney up and over the slip cordon but there was too much pace on the ball and it flew all the way down into the safe hands of Luke Fletcher at third man.
Chris Woakes and Keith Barker helped turned around Warwickshire’s fortunes with splendid centuries on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
After sliding to 17 for four during a torrid opening hour, the visitors responded to reach stumps on 372 for nine, after Woakes scored 121 and Barker made 113.
Luke Fletcher, with three for 70, and Jackson Bird, who took three for 81, were the pick of the home attack but as the wicket flattened out the batsmen took over.
With Ian Bell missing through injury Woakes deputised as captain and opted to bat first after winning the toss. With a succession of early wickets falling it looked as if the Bears may have misread the conditions but Woakes led the recovery, batting for 187 deliveries on his way to his ninth first class ton.
"Woakes and Barker began their partnership in mid-afternoon and by the time they were parted had set a new eighth wicket record partnership against Notts"
Barker’s century was his sixth, brought up with a huge maximum. In all, he faced 113 balls and hit 14 fours.
Fletcher bowled as if he had a point to prove during the morning session. The 27 year old had been farmed out on loan to Derbyshire for the opening weeks of the season and was only recalled when Jake Ball was summoned away to join England.
Even then, Fletcher may not have been involved had Luke Wood not reported in with back pain but the big fast bowler took three wickets to help reduce Warwickshire to 60 for five at lunch.
Bird, rested for last week’s draw against Middlesex, announced his own return with an equally impressive opening burst which accounted for Varun Chopra, taken at first slip for four.
Fletcher then removed Ian Westwood, Laurie Evans and Sam Hain in an 11-over spell which brought him figures of three for six, with his debit column including a wide and a no ball.
Steven Mullaney lived up to his reputation as someone who can winkle out a batsman just before lunch, aided by Tim Ambrose’s decision not play at one that just shaped back and clipped his pad.
From 60 for five the visitors forged their way back into the contest thanks, initially, to an innings of high quality from Jonathan Trott, who made 68. Watchful from the outset, he accelerated spectacularly after reaching his 50 from 101 deliveries.
Four consecutive boundaries came from the bowling of Brett Hutton, who then exacted revenge by plucking a one-handed catch out of the air to remove Trott, off Bird.
Rikki Clarke didn’t stay for long, holing out after chancing his arm against the spin of Samit Patel.
Woakes and Barker began their partnership in mid-afternoon and by the time they were parted had set a new eighth wicket record partnership against Notts, sailing past the 119 that Norman Kilner and Reg Santall put on in 1930.
The unlucky Hutton twice had Woakes dropped in the early part of his innings, with Michael Lumb putting down a difficult chance on 19 and then Mullaney spilling a low opportunity 10 runs later.
From those nervous moments, Woakes blossomed as the bowlers began to tire. Barker, not at his fluent best in the early stages, took what was on offer before feasting greedily in the final session.
With the last pair at the crease Warwickshire need a further 28 runs to secure maximum batting points.