County Championship
County Championship Logo Mon 10 September, 10:30

Fischer County Ground, Grace Road, Leicester

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Warwickshire win by an innings and 104 runs {{ scorecard.match_overview.result }} {{ scorecard.match_overview.toss }} {{ scorecard.match_overview.result }}
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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.

Grove and Hollies doing damage with bat and ball

When, shortly after tea on Thursday August 26th 1948, Warwickshire number 11 Eric Hollies went out to join Charlie Grove in the middle at Grace Road, Leicestershire opening batsmen Les Berry and George Watson prepared to pad up.

Hollies, a great bowler, was number 11 for a reason while Grove was an old-style tail-ender. Hit or miss. Mostly miss.
But on this breezy late-summer day in the east midlands, Grove was connecting sweetly.

Grove let fly to devastating effect. He thrashed his way beyond 50 and then, as Hollies dug in at the other end, advanced to a century in just 80 minutes with ten fours and two sixes.

Brian Halford

Bald of pate, pot of belly and Brummie through and through, the Warwickshire favourite had biffed his way past his previous career-best of 55 and was closing in on a maiden ton when Hollies went in.

The two men were close friends. As well as forming two strands of one of the strongest ever Bears bowling trios – spin genius Hollies, medium-pace metronome Grove and the searing pace of Tom Pritchard – they were big muckers.

They were among the generation of cricketers who lost their peak years to the Second World War. Yardley-born Grove played his first three championship matches for Warwickshire in 1938 and became a regular in ’39 then did not play in the championship again until 1947.

The following season that esteemed trinity powered the county’s attack. Pritchard took 163 championships wickets and Hollies 128 while Grove’s tally of 58 was affected by injuries. He had just returned from injury when Warwickshire visited Leicester – and took out his frustrations on the Foxes to the delight of the travelling supporters scattered around the Grace Road stands.

After choosing to bat the home side was bowled out for 207 by Hollies (four for 23), Grove (two for 34) and Pritchard (two for 92). Warwickshire were already well past that at 289 for seven (Ron Maudsley 90, Bert Wolton 62) when Grove went in. Leicestershire’s ageing attack, tired towards the end of a long day at the end of a gruelling, 26-game championship season, was vulnerable – and Grove let fly to devastating effect. He thrashed his way beyond 50 and then, as Hollies dug in at the other end, advanced to a century in just 80 minutes with ten fours and two sixes – a boundary-count restricted by the hugeness of the Grace Road field.

Grove finished unbeaten on 104 – and had enough puff left to take four for 52 as Leicestershire were skittled for 193 second time round and were beaten by an innings and 43 runs.

Grove was a great servant to Warwickshire for many year, principally as a bowler (744 wickets at 22,66 apiece), but also a fine club man and later scorer. As a batsmen he delivered plenty of fiery cameos – but only once in 310 first-class innings, on that famous day in Leicester, did he reach three-figures.

Opposition Overview: Leicestershire vs Warwickshire – Specsavers County Championship 2018

Leicestershire Overview

Specsavers County Championship – Division Two: ninth.

Royal London One-Day Cup – North Group. 2017: sixth.

Vitality Blast – North Group. 2017 – fourth. Quarter-final: lost to Glamorgan in Cardiff.

Captain: Michael Carberry.

Head Coach: Paul Nixon.

Overseas players: Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Nabi, Cameron Delport, Varun Aaron.

Ins and outs: In: Tom Taylor (Derbyshire), Ateeq Javid (Warwickshire). Out: Clint McKay (overseas)

Man on a Mission

Michael Carberry. Just 59 runs in eight innings since moving from Hampshire towards the end of last season means the 37-year-old Carberry has plenty to prove to Leicestershire supporters, the more so after it was confirmed he would replace the side’s only consistent and reliable run-scorer, Mark Cosgrove, as captain this season. The popular Londoner will have more bowling firepower at his disposal than the unfortunate Cosgrove, however, and if he can maintain his first-class average of 41, could help new coach Paul Nixon inspire a new era of success for the Foxes – the early signs in pre-season have been encouraging.

One to watch

Callum Parkinson. One of the country’s brightest spinning talents, the smiling, sparky 21-year-old left-armer turns the ball on the most unpromising surfaces, and is developing the flight and guile to tempt batsmen into mistakes when conditions are not in his favour. His 8-148 at Worcestershire last season, when he out-bowled Ravi Ashwin, was Leicestershire’s best individual bowling return since 2001, and the county aim to produce slightly drier wickets at the Fischer County Ground this season, to ensure Parkinson is a real threat as matches develop.

Local hero

Zak Chappell. After a year in which injury kept him off the field for long periods, Chappell has benefited from a winter working with new Leicestershire bowling coach Matt Mason, both with the ECB Pace Programme and at the Fischer County Ground. Stronger and fitter, the 21-year-old from Stamford (where he was coached by former England fast bowler Dean Headley) looks capable of fulfilling the predictions of those who believe him to be an all-round talent with the potential to be the next Stuart Broad.

Prospects for 2018:

NEW head coach Paul Nixon’s asking Leicestershire supporters to be realistic about the team’s prospects for the season ahead may have occasioned a wry smile among the Foxes faithful. When a county has finished bottom of the Championship in four of the last five seasons, and failed to win a single four day game last year, it is fair to say the most optimistic is not expecting them to run away with Division Two.

There will be disappointment, however, if there is not considerable improvement in both performances and results. The overseas signings of Pakistan international seamer Mohammad Abbas and more recently India’s Varun Aaron to replace Sohail Khan should go a long way towards addressing last season’s biggest problem, the failure to take 20 wickets in a match, as should the return to full fitness of seamers Zak Chappell, Ben Raine, Gavin Griffiths and Neil Dexter, all of whom were either unavailable or not fully fit throughout much of 2017.

The talent of left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson, who picked up 17 wickets in just seven innings towards the end of last season, is another reason to be cheerful, as is a batting order packed with run-gathering experience. Michael Carberry, Paul Horton, Mark Cosgrove, Colin Ackermann, Dexter and Ned Eckersley are all proven thousand runs a season men, and will need to produce under pressure from youngsters Aadil Ali, Harry Dearden and Sam Evans.

The Foxes should also be a threat in white ball cricket, especially with Nixon’s guidance: Afghan star Mohammad Nabi and hard-hitting South African Cameron Delport add to the firepower which saw them reach the quarter-finals of last season’s T20.

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