Last wicket
4th Sep 2018 - 10AM Edgbaston, Birmingham
Specsavers County Championship Division Two 2018
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Warwickshire
Warwickshire
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Durham
Durham
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Brian Halford
4th September 2018

Championship Report: Warwickshire v Durham

Warwickshire host Durham at Edgbaston looking to extend their lead atop of the County Championship.

Day Four: Close

Durham’s tail dug deep to earn a draw and dent Warwickshire’s promotion hopes on day four of their captivating Specsavers County Championship match at Edgbaston.

Set 218 to win from 41 overs, Durham were fancying their chances but four wickets from Olly Stone helped reduce the visitors to 102 for eight with seven overs remaining.

The Bears intensified their efforts, missing the edge many times, but wicketkeeper Stuart Poynter (9*) and number ten Matt Salisbury (5*) put on a resolute ninth wicket partnership of 13 runs from 35 balls.

It was heartbreak for a home side that remains top but sees their lead reduced to seven points to second placed Kent who beat Northants earlier in the afternoon.

With 70 overs lost in the match and Warwickshire’s promotion rivals Sussex and Kent closing in on top spot, there was plenty of urgency from the hosts to engineer a winning opportunity.

Starting the day on 28 for one, Ian Bell was the first to go, caught by Graham Clark after wafting at Axar Patel’s first ball for 10, with Dominic Sibley following him shortly after, bowled by Patel for 27 trying to sweep.

Jonathan Trott then fell four balls later, edging to Paul Collingwood for 13 off Barry McCarthy, leaving the Bears struggling on 68 for four.

A valuable partnership of 89 from 202 balls between Sam Hain and Tim Ambrose who was dropped twice on 10 and 14, edged Warwickshire ahead in the game.

But once Ambrose was trapped LBW by Patel, wickets fell at an alarming rate – five in nine overs - as the spinner bulldozed through the tail, once Barry McCarthy removed Keith Barker for five, to chalk up a career-best of 27.4-12-54-7.

The 24 year-old bowled his namesake for seven, before getting Chris Wright (15), Stone (0) and Ryan Sidebottom to hole out with the latter dismissal coming via the head of Will Smith at short leg.

Durham needed to go at 5.31 an over to reach their target, but they were immediately put on the back foot.

Barker trapped Alex Lees LBW for nine, before Wright got Cameron Steel to edge behind for 21, whilst Stone dismissed Smith for eight an over later. Both wickets had come following a bowling change.

Stone struck again, Richardson given LBW, putting the visitors on 54 for four and needing another 164 to win from 22.4 overs.

An away win now looked heavily unlikely and Warwickshire, who were rotating the seam attack, struck with 21 overs remaining when Stone got Clark to find Hain at deep square for 23.

Patel, who was going at a run a ball, was the next to fall trapped LBW by Barker for 22 leaving the experienced Collingwood and Stuart Poynter to see out the final the thirteen overs.

But Collingwood was caught by Ambrose for 13 off the bowling of Wright and McCarthy followed when Stone trapped him LBW for two.

Warwickshire’s tails were up but Durham’s were a match, defending seven intense overs of pace which saw five slips and no fielder more than 15 yards away from the bat.

There’s little time for either side to dust themselves down with Warwickshire heading to Grace Road to face Leicestershire on Monday, whilst Durham return to Chester-le-Street to face third placed Sussex.

Day Three: Close

Warwickshire’s attempt to press for victory were thwarted by the weather on day three of their Specsavers County Championship match against Durham at Edgbaston.

After heading into lunch on 28 for one, a lead of 46, rain started towards the end of the interval and continued throughout the day.

The umpires did see an improvement as a 3.20pm inspection was called, but the weather deteriorated and no further play was possible meaning 70 overs in total had been lost.

That will surely cause frustration within the hosts changing room as promotion rivals Sussex and Kent sit in a strong possible against Leicestershire and Northamptonshire respectively.

Jeetan Patel’s side must now bat aggressively in the morning to set-up a Durham run chase and unlikely victory with only 96 overs available on the final day.

The day started under blue skies with the visitors resuming on 224 for seven, 86 behind.

Olly Stone immediately exposed the tail by bowling Paul Collingwood first ball of the morning for 38, but any Warwickshire expectation of a sizeable first innings lead diminished as Barry McCarthy and Salisbury put on a resolute 42 between them.

McCarthy was eventually dismissed, trapped LBW to Chris Wright for 43, but Durham were buoyed as they made in-roads to the first innings total set.

Chris Rushworth, the last man in, supported Salisbury in another valuable 26-run partnership before Stone struck with his seventh wicket to remove the stubborn number ten, who’d made a career-best 38, and bowl Durham out for 292.

With conditions darkening, the Bears faced eleven overs before the interval and they saw opener Will Rhodes trapped LBW by Rushworth for 16 leaving Dom Sibley (7*) and Ian Bell (4*) to close out the session.

If Warwickshire are to get anything more than the eleven points a draw would reward them then it would be fair to say that one of those two would need to score quickly.

Day Two: Close of play

A devastating spell from Olly Stone helped Warwickshire end day two of their County Championship match against Durham at Edgbaston on top.

With Durham reaching 152 for three after tea, Stone replaced Keith Barker at the Pavilion End and recorded his third 5-fer of the season with a destructive spell (8-2-13-4) that saw four wickets fall for 13 runs.

The 24-year-old removed Will Smith for 46 when he edged behind to Tim Ambrose and nine balls later Axar Patel followed for 0 after playing onto his stumps.

Will Rhodes from the Birmingham End was restricting a fightback, entrenching the Durham batsman with bowling figures of 8-3-11-0, enabling Stone to trap Michael Richardson (23 from 80 balls) and Stuart Poynter (0) LBW two balls apart in a double wicket maiden.

The hosts’ tails were up, but Durham captain Paul Collingwood (32) and Barry McCarthy (24) dug deep into the early evening with a 59 run partnership from 17 overs that left the visitors on 224 for seven, 86 behind.

With the sun shining over Edgbaston, conditions were a far cry from the gloomy day one, giving the batters more encouragement to score.

Warwickshire’s overnight batters of Jonathan Trott and Jeetan Patel did exactly that with five fours in the first 14 balls, before Trott - looking to score his 46th first-class hundred - was bowled for 79 by Matthew Salisbury in the third over of the morning.

Patel followed six overs later, bowled by Barry McCarthy for 26, leaving the Bears languishing on 224/7, but they were reprieved by an aggressive ninth wicket partnership.

Chris Wright (54 off 72 balls) and Olly Stone (38 off 64 balls) struck an entertaining 86 off 121 balls, which featured nine fours and a six and helped secured a valuable third batting point.

The Bears finished on 310 all out after Stone was caught at deep mid-wicket by an excellent catch from Graham Clark, with Sidebottom following him five balls later after being trapped LBW by Axar Patel for 0.

Durham’s reply started confidently, but sporadic early wickets and Stone’s eight over stint meant long partnerships were unable to form.

Steel was the first to go when he edged behind to Ambrose off the bowling of Stone, whilst Wright bowled Lees for 35 off his first ball of the day.

Clark was dismissed for 14 trapped LBW by Sidebottom three overs before tea leaving Durham on 105 for three, but Michael Richardson steadied the ship alongside Will Smith.

The pair would make a fourth wicket stand of 46 before Stone entered the fray leaving the visitors on 165 for seven.

But with Collingwood and McCarthy closing out the day, Warwickshire will want to wrap up the tail quickly on day three and look to push on with promotion challengers Kent and Sussex also in strong positions.

Day One: Close of play

Jonathan Trott, in his penultimate match at Edgbaston, held Warwickshire together with batting of high class on a truncated first day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Durham.

Warwickshire closed a day stripped of 12 overs by rain and bad light on 184 for six with Trott unbeaten on 67 (145 balls, ten fours) - a patient and skilful innings in testing batting conditions.

After early-morning rain and a wet outfield prevented play before lunch, batting was never easy with moisture in the air under a canopy of thick cloud and with the floodlights on. Those conditions were exploited by Durham's seamers who were rotated at one end while, curiously, left-arm spinner Axar Patel was left to wheel away, spearing the ball in without looking particularly threatening, from the other.

Warwickshire were deeply indebted to Trott who reached the crease at 47 for two and stayed firm while middle-order partners came and went.

After taking up the option to bowl first, Durham struck with the 18th ball of the day when Dominic Sibley edged Chris Rushworth to third slip. Will Rhodes and Ian Bell added 38 in 12 overs before Barry McCarthy came on from the Pavilion End and removed Bell lbw with his fifth ball.

Rhodes applied himself with customary diligence for 105 minutes to reach 36 (71 balls, three fours) then perished when he turned spinner Patel off the face of the bat to short leg.

McCarthy struck again when Sam Hain edged to wicketkeeper Stuart Poynton, a wicket which left Warwickshire uneasily perched on 100 for four at tea. That became 114 for five when Tim Ambrose went back to a full-length ball from Rushworth which hit middle and off.

Trott reached his half-century (115 balls) with his ninth four, cut off a short delivery from Patel, in a partnership of 36 in 16 overs with Keith Barker before the latter fell to a fine catch at second slip by Alex Lees off Matt Salisbury.

Trott remained resolute though to ensure that the Division One leaders have power to add tomorrow as they seek a third successive win to keep the pressure on challengers Kent and Sussex in the promotion race.

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Brian Halford
2nd September 2018

When Lara rewrote the record books against Durham

On Friday June 3, 1994, Warwickshire were in serious trouble on the second afternoon of their championship match against Durham at Edgbaston.

In reply to the visitors' 556 for eight, the Bears were eight for one after Dominic Ostler hit Anderson Cummins for two fours then edged behind.

"At lunch Brian said to me: 'What score's the first-class record? "'I said '499 - you're not going for that?' He said 'Well, are you thinking of declaring?' And Dermot Reeve said 'Well, sort of. We'll see how it goes."

Bob Woolmer

Into bat, to join Roger Twose at the crease, went Brian Lara.

The West Indian was on the threshold of history. A hundred would make him the first player ever to score seven centuries in eight first-class innings, but it was soon apparent that his brilliant recent form had deserted him.

He almost perished first ball which Cummins dug in short, forcing a miscued pulled which lobbed up and landed just beyond the bowler's reach. On 12, he missed a Cummins yorker which knocked out leg-stump only for Lara to be saved by the diligence of umpire Peter Wight.

“Durham’s players were delighted," recalled Wight, "until they turned round and saw me with my arm up. Then a couple of overs later Lara was dropped by the wicketkeeper. I remember saying ‘that might be expensive.’’’
Wight was right.

Lara had 18 when he edged Simon Brown behind and Chris Scott grassed the chance. Having batted brilliantly to amass 675 runs in six championship innings, the left-hander had scraped his way to effectively 18 for three so when, shortly afterwards, the tea interval arrived, he headed not for the dressing-room and a cuppa but for the nets - and some throw-downs from team-mate and close pal Keith Piper.

It worked. At the close, Warwickshire were 210 for two with Lara on 111 having become the first batsman to score seven in eight, surpassing the seven in nine by CB Fry, Ernest Tyldesley and Don Bradman (four times).

So out of form had Lara been at first, he was outscored by Twose but his rhythm returned in the final session. Having reached 50 from 80 balls, positively snail-like by his standards, he took just another 58 to reach 100. The dismissal of Twose then heralded the arrival of Trevor Penney - and one of the most remarkable partnerships of all time. At stumps on the second day it was worth 87. It concluded on the fourth afternoon at 314 - of which Penney's share was 44.

On Saturday, the scheduled third day, it rained heavily and there was no play. On Sunday, Warwickshire won a 45-over game by 84 runs. On Monday, Durham, a bowler short with David Graveney injured, considered the state of the match and declined to set up a run-chase.

Their decision killed the game - and ensured that it will tower forever in history.

Lara resumed on 111. In the morning, he added exactly 100 - in fours alone. He also hit seven sixes on his way to 174 runs in the session. Penney, meanwhile, scored 27.

On 285 at lunch, Lara spoke to director of coaching Bob Woolmer.

"At lunch Brian said to me: 'What score's the first-class record?'" Woolmer later recalled. "'I said '499 - you're not going for that?' He said 'Well, are you thinking of declaring?' And Dermot Reeve said 'Well, sort of. We'll see how it goes.'"

It took Lara no time in the afternoon to set a new record score for Warwickshire, overtaking Frank Foster's 305 against Worcestershire at Dudley in 1914. To their credit, Durham kept going. At no point did they give cheap runs away and they removed Penney for 44 and Paul Smith for 12, but if they thought a couple of wickets might restore some normality they were mistaken.

Piper, whose throw-downs three days earlier had proved the catalyst for this cricketing cataclysm, settled in alongside his pal to share in the innings' second 300-plus stand.

Lara motored on past 300, past 400 (going from 396 to 400 with an all-run four from a drive towards the distant Rea Bank boundary) and to 418 at tea.

As his score grew so did the crowd as word spread that something momentous was happening. Records galore tumbled; highest score by a batsman at Edgbaston; most boundaries in an innings; highest score in English cricket; most runs by an individual batsman in a day - until only the big one remained. Could he reel in the 499 made by Hanif Mohammed for Karachi against Bahawalpur in 1959.

For almost 50 years Hanif's record had towered almost 50 runs above the next-best. Lara closed remorselessly in on it, but he was to need crucial assistance from Piper one more time. The wicketkeeper had quietly completed a century of his own and, as a remarkable story approached its conclusion, it was his alertness that ensured this dazzling day had the denouement the ever-increasing crowd desired.

Lara's pursuit of the magic 500 was unthreatened by the bowlers but was almost fatally ambushed by the regulations of county cricket. Championship games can finish half an hour early if there is no chance of a result and Lara, cracking on beyond 450, was unaware of this until, at a late stage (in the final over!) Piper pointed it out.

"When he got hit on the helmet by John Morris towards 5.30pm, I went down the pitch to see if he knew what I knew," Piper said. "I'd checked with both umpires and they told me we could not claim the extra half-hour and so I told Brian that he had two balls left to go from 497 to 500. He just nodded and smashed the next ball through the covers for four."

Lara finished unbeaten on 501 from 427 balls with ten sixes and 62 fours. His first 100, having spanned a relatively tortuous 138 balls, the next four took 82, 58, 72 and 77. Conditions were perfect - the umpires reported the pitch to Lord's as being too favourable to batsmen - but the innings was still an immense work of skill, application, appetite and stamina. A work of genius.

"I knew he had the ability, but to concentrate for that long and keep going was amazing," said Cummins. "I don't think anybody thought that we had given it to him. Nobody flagged and we stuck at it right to the end."

The genius of Lara. But let's not forget the man without whom that amazing innings would not have happened. Peter Wight was a high-class batsman in his own right, scoring 1,000 runs in a season ten times and 2,000 twice for Somerset, runs invariably collected with impeccable timing. An artist with the willow himself, Wight appreciated the pure batsmanship of Lara of which he had such a close view that day in ’94.

“He murdered the bowling,” he recalled. “He hit them all round the ground. It was a privilege to see batting like that.”

Just as well, then, that a certain umpire had his wits about him early in the piece.

'Lara 501 not out' was sensational.

'Lara b Cummins 12' does not have quite the same ring to it...

Live scorecard

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Durham Squad

  • Cameron Steel

  • Gareth Harte

  • Stuart Poynter

  • Nathan Rimmington

  • William Smith

  • Paul Collingwood

  • Michael Richardson

  • Christopher Rushworth

  • Graham Clark

  • Barry McCarthy

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