Championship Report: Warwickshire at Leicestershire
Day three: Close of play
Keith Barker and Jeetan Patel powered Warwickshire to victory over Leicestershire by an innings and 104 runs at the Fischer County Ground.
The Bears maintained the pressure on their pursuers in the Specsavers County Championship Division Two promotion race with a commanding maximum-points victory on the third afternoon in Leicester.
Needing 300 to avoid an innings defeat, the Foxes were bowled out for 196 with Barker taking five for 40 to complete match figures of 26-8-63-8 and Patel taking four for 67 and passing 50 championship wickets for the season in the process.
It was Warwickshire’s third emphatic win in four games, all completed inside three days, and sends them into the last two games of the season, starting against Sussex at Hove next week, strongly-placed at the top of the table.
When the Bears resumed on the third morning on 384 for nine their first objective was to collect 16 runs from 14 balls to secure full batting points. The first ball of the day brought a statement of intent from Patel who cracked Muhammad Abbas to the mid-off boundary. Chris Woakes (73 not out, 82 balls, ten fours, one six) then lifted Ben Mike for two fours over extra-cover to finish the job and trigger the declaration at 400 for nine.
Leicestershire’s second innings hit immediate turbulence when Barker followed his first-innings 11-4-23-3 with an opening burst of 10-3-21-3. Rapid inswingers left Paul Horton and Colin Ackermann with only two stumps standing before an in-ducker, abetted by low bounce, trapped Mark Cosgrove lbw.
Harry Dearden defied hard for 29 but fell lbw to Patel to the last ball before lunch to give the Bears captain his 50th championship wicket of 2018.
After lunch, Barker and Patel worked their way through the middle and lower orders. Neil Dexter lifted Patel to Chris Wright at deep square leg before former Bears favourite Ateeq Javid, having dug in for 24 (62 balls), was adjudged lbw to Patel.
If Javid copped a harsh decision, there was little doubt about the lbw verdict which Patel won against Usman Arshad – and no doubt at all about Barker’s cleaning up of Ned Eckersley and David Sayer as stumps were sent flying.
The final wicket fell with 39 overs left in the day when Mike hoisted Olly Stone to deep square leg where Patel took the catch to complete three excellent days work by his team.
Day Two: Close of play
Division Two leaders Warwickshire are in a totally dominant position, leading by 284 runs with one first innings wicket remaining, after a rain-affected second day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.
The morning session was lost to rain, but play was able to start at 2pm, with 59.5 overs scheduled.
Jonathan Trott, having resumed on 34 not out, hit just two scoring shots – both boundaries – in the first 40 minutes before falling to a delivery from 20-year-old seamer Ben Mike that bounced and seamed back to take the top edge on its way through to wicketkeeper Ned Eckersley.
With the ball swinging in surprisingly humid conditions, Sam Hain and Tim Ambrose compiled a partnership of 55 for the fifth wicket before Ambrose, pressing forward, edged off-spinner Colin Ackermann to Eckersley.
With batting bonus points in mind, Hain and England all-rounder Chris Woakes began to accelerate the scoring rate after the tea interval before Hain, on 72, was leg before to Mike.
Woakes went to a half-century of his own, off 69 balls, but lost partners quickly as Warwickshire accelerated, Keith Barker holing out to Acekermann before Mohammad Abbas gained some reward for unstinting effort with a double wicket maiden in which he dismissed both Chris Wright and Olly Stone without scoring.
When bad light ended play, Warwickshire needed 16 runs off two overs to secure their fifth batting bonus point.
Day One: Close of play
Warwickshire cranked up the pressure on their Specsavers County Championship Division Two pursuers by dominating the first day against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground.
Eager to make swift progress with rain forecast tomorrow, the Bears did exactly that by bowling their hosts out for 100 shortly after lunch.
Opening pair Don Sibley and Will Rhodes then took their side in front without loss before tea and Sibley went on score his fourth first-class century, a polished 106 (168 balls, 17 fours) as Warwickshire reached 190 for three by the close.
Bowling coach Graeme Welch always wants the Bears’ seamers to hunt as a pack and they did that perfectly after an uncontested toss. Keith Barker’s opening burst of 11-4-23-3 could easily have brought him a five-for while Chris Woakes took two for 27 and added a direct-hit run out to remove the dangerous Mark Cosgrove.
Olly Stone then blasted out three for 24 (to move to 33 wickets at 11.57 apiece this season) – but it was the fourth seamer Chris Wright who led the Bears’ players in at the end of the innings. In his antepenultimate match for the club, Wright took just one wicket but it was his 400th in first-class cricket – roundly celebrated by his team-mates.
The second half of the day saw Sibley then cement the Bears’ advantage with a classy innings.
Barker began the Foxes’ tale of batting woe with his tenth ball which Harry Dearden edged to Tim Ambrose. The left-armer’s 29th ball then trapped Colin Ackermann lbw.
From 42 for two, Leicestershire lurched to 45 for six as four wickets fell for three runs in ten balls. Woakes hit Paul Horton’s off-stump before ousting Cosgrove with a fine piece of fielding. Neil Dexter played Woakes to cover and called for a single only for the bowler to chase the ball down and beat Cosgrove with a direct hit.
Ateeq Javid, offering no shot, was bowled by Barker and a perfect away-swinger from Woakes induced a nick from Dexter before Stone took up the attack. The former Northants man knocked out Ned Eckersley’s off-stump then removing Usman Arshad, caught by Woakes at mid-off, on the stroke of lunch.
Soon after the interval, the Bears were batting after Greg Mike pulled Stone to long leg and Wright bowled David Sayer to reach the magic 400.
Sibley launched the Bears’ reply with a plethora of sweetly-timed boundaries. The 23-year-old raced to 50 from 49 balls with ten fours and added 123 in 29 overs with Rhodes before the latter was lbw to Dexter straight after tea.
Ian Bell quickly fell, perhaps unlucky to be adjudged lbw to Muhammad Abbas, but Trott settled in alongside Sibley who, confronted with improved bowling after tea, applied himself diligently to reach his fourth first-class century (156 balls).
The third-wicket pair added 58 before Sibley fell lbw to Mike. Trott, having quietly snuffed out Leicestershire’s glimmer of a fightback at 126 for two, remained unbeaten on 34 (72 balls, four fours) at the close.