County Championship
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Trent Bridge, Nottingham

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Championship Report: Nottinghamshire v Warwickshire

Day Four

Warwickshire delivered a brilliant final-day performance to complete an eight-wicket Specsavers County Championship victory over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

In good batting conditions, an excellent bowling display led by Olly Hannon-Dalby (four for 54) and Jeetan Patel (three for 52) dismissed the home side for 260 in their second innings to leave the Bears a target of 271 in 58 overs.

It was a tempting target, though certainly no formality against an attack including India Test star Ravi Ashwin, but Dom Sibley continued his sensational season by adding 109 (147 balls, ten fours) to his first-innings 215.

Sibley and Will Rhodes (65, 107 balls, six fours, two sixes) laid the perfect platform with an opening stand of 146 in 31 overs. Michael Burgess ( 61 not out, 55 balls, six fours, one six) then joined Sibley to add 71 and take their side to the threshold of an amazing comeback victory which arrived with 12 balls to spare.

Very rarely in championship history has a side conceded within a boundary hit of 500 in the first innings then fought back to win – a true sign of the spirit which underpins this injury-depleted but big-hearted Warwickshire squad.

The home side, leading by ten on first innings, took their overnight 105 for five to 260 all out thanks to Joe Clarke’s second century of the match (112, 169 balls, 15 fours), supported by Ravi Ashwin (42, 47 balls) and Zak Chappell (29, 48 balls).

Incredibly, the injury-ravaged Bears took yet another blow as young seamer George Garrett limped off midway through an over with a quad injury to join a season’s injury-list which surely must be unprecedented in the history of county cricket.

In the morning, the Bears’ bowlers did well to restrict the home sde’s second innings on a warm day and good batting pitch, Henry Brookes made a quick breakthrough when Paul Coughlin edged to wicketkeeper Burgess and then Garrett trapped Ashwin lbw. The unlucky Garrett, having made an excellent impression in the match with four important wickets, delivered just one more ball before pulling up injured in his delivery stride.

Luke Fletcher tucked Patel to short leg, Chappell clipped the spinner to short mid-wicket and when Clarke played on to Hannon-Dalby, the Bears bowlers’ perseverance in conditions offering them little help had earned their side a tilt at victory.

Nottinghamshire opened the bowling with Ashwin but Rhodes underlined his intention not to let the spinner dictate with two fours in his first three balls. Rhodes and Sibley worked the ball round with skill and intelligence until the former lifted Cooughlin high to third man.

The Bears paced the pursuit perfectly. They needed 116 from the last 20 overs and Sibley and Burgess gradually upped the scoring rate. After Sibley, having batted for eight minutes short of 12 hours in the match, was finally bowled by Coughlin, Burgess closed the game out with some solid blows to lift the Bears above Surrey into sixth in the Division One table.

With the Bears on the verge of victory, yet another injury concern cropped up when Sam Hain retired hurt after taking a bouncer from Jack Blatherwick on the helmet. The batsman walked off dazed but and Matt Lamb went in to accompany Burgess over the winning line.

Day Three

Dominic Sibley’s exceptional season for Warwickshire continued with a chanceless double-century on the third day of their Specsavers County Championship tussle with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

The  vice-captain, comfortably the leading run-scorer in the championship Division One this season, finished unbeaten on 215 (420 balls, 30 fours) when the Bears were bowled out for 488, ten short of the home side’s 498.

It is the third time that Sibley has batted through an innings in first-class cricket. His second double century of the season was the product of 529 minutes of classy, composed batting, underpinned by immense concentration, which took him past 4,000 first-class career runs.

His work was afforded a standing ovation from the generous Nottinghamshire supporters, as well as the plentiful visiting Bears fans, while the Notts players also joined in the applause when Sibley reached 200.

Sibley’s excellence set up the Bears for a tilt at an unlikely victory as they reduced Nottinghamshire to 51 for four in their second innings. The home side recovered partially to 105 for five – 115 ahead – by the close but a match which appeared destined for stalemate is very much alive going into the final day.

After resuming on the third morning on 264 for two, Warwickshire added 17 before losing two quick wickets to the new ball. A partnership of 160 in 32 overs between Sibley and Sam Hain (76, 163 balls, 12 fours) ended when the latter lifted Luke Fletcher to point. Matt Lamb’s off-stump was then knocked out by debutant Jack Blatherwick.

Liam Banks (41, 38 balls, nine fours) and Michael Burgess (31, 45, four) helped Sibley add 61 and 76 respectively. Both looked in good nick but missed out on a beckoning big innings as Banks edged Paul Coughlin into the slips and Burgess played on when trying to cut Steve Mullaney.

Henry Brookes skied Mullaney to mid-off to bring captain Jeetan Patel to the crease just in time to shake his vice-captain’s hand when the opener reached his double-century (406 balls, 28 fours).

Mullaney had Patel caught in the cordon and bowled Olly Hannon-Dalby and when George Garrett fell lbw to Ravi Ashwin, the indefatigable Sibley had finally run out of partners.

Hannon-Dalby wasted no time in damaging Nottinghamshire’s second innings as Mullaney edged the third ball to Hain at second slip. In a fine opening burst of 8-2-18-2, the Yorkshireman also removed Chris Nash, plum lbw with a searing in-ducker.

Ben Compton eked 13 from 75 minutes then edged Patel behind and when Ben Duckett was bowled, offering no shot, by Garrett, the home side was 51 for four. The innings was stabilised by Joe Clarke’s fluent 59-ball half-century, but Hannon-Dalby returned to bowl impressive 17-year-old debutant Joey Evison just before the close to leave the Bears poised to press hard for victory on the final day.

Day Two

Dominic Sibley reeled off his fourth century of the Specsavers County Championship season on the second day of Warwickshire’s match with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

The 24-year old is undefeated on 115 with the Bears on 264 for two, in response to Nottinghamshire’s all out total of 498.

Sibley has scored his runs from 230 balls with 17 fours and has reached three figures for the eleventh time in his career and fourth time this season.

The opener was joined in an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 143 with Sam Hain, who is not out on 67.

Earlier, Notts batted on from their overnight score of 425 for six, with Ravi Ashwin and Paul Coughlin at the crease.

Ashwin advanced his score to 38 before nicking behind to Michael Burgess, giving Henry Brookes, who took three for 131, his third wicket.

Oliver Hannon-Dalby then had Luke Fletcher caught in the gully by Liam Banks for 10.

Warwickshire missed out on a final bowling point but eventually ended the Notts innings after 115.4 overs.

Coughlin went past his previous high score of 46 for the county but was one short of his half-century when given out lbw against the bowling of George Garrett.

Zak Chappell also reached double figures for the county for the first time and even had time to reverse-sweep Jeetan Patel for a boundary before nicking Garrett to Hain at slip for 20.

Warwickshire made a positive response in front of watching England selector James Taylor. Nottingham-born Will Rhodes made 36, helping Sibley add 77 for the first wicket before being pinned lbw by Coughlin.

Rob Yates’ was the other wicket to go down in mid-afternoon, squared up Ravi Ashwin and caught at mid-on from a thick inside-edge. The dismissal was Ashwin’s 33rd wicket for Notts in only five matches – and came on the day he celebrated his 33rd birthday.

Sibley’s hundred came from 198 deliveries and contained 15 boundaries. He has now registered centuries in seven of his last 15 championship matches.

Steven Mullaney, who scored 179 on the first day, bowled for the first time in three months. The Nottinghamshire captain sent down seven overs and has put himself into the running for a spot at Vitality Blast Finals Day after fully recovering from knee surgery.

Warwickshire are still 234 runs adrift but will resume on the third day with eight wickets still in hand.

Day One

Centuries from Steven Mullaney and Joe Clarke gave Nottinghamshire the advantage in the Specsavers County Championship meeting with Warwickshire at Trent Bridge.

The pair added 205 for the third wicket as Notts played with the freedom of a side which had already been relegated.

By stumps they had reached 425 for six after being invited to bat first, their highest score of the season.

Mullaney scored a career-best 179, scoring his runs from 173 deliveries, with 26 fours and five sixes.

The Notts’ club captain, who has recently returned to the side after knee surgery, was crestfallen last week as the drop was confirmed. He shrugged off that disappointment to plunder boundaries all around Trent Bridge from a Bears attack that kept offering him the width to keep peppering the advertising boards at cover.

Clarke, who has struggled for runs since the opening week of the season, regained his touch with a sublime innings of 125 – like Mullaney, reaching 100 for the fifteenth time.

Evison immediately looked at ease and caressed nine fours in making 45 from only 54 balls before falling lbw to a Henry Brookes yorker.

The other newcomers are Ben Compton, cousin for former England batsman Nick, who made 14 before being bowled by Will Rhodes and pace bowler Jack Blatherwick, who has made two one-day appearances for the county.

Chris Nash, at the other end of his playing career, was bowled by Henry Brookes without scoring.

At lunch Mullaney was unbeaten on 90 and he wasted little time in advancing to his fifteenth first-class hundred soon afterwards, arriving at the landmark from 93 balls with 19 fours.

The Notts’ captain pepped up the already-impressive run-rate with the first of five huge sixes coming off George Garrett’s bowling. He passed 150 for the fourth time in his career from 140 balls before lofting Jeetan Patel to Oliver Hannon-Dalby at mid-off.

Clarke reached his hundred from 153 balls, with 18 fours and then accelerated to 125 before hitting Rhodes out to deep midwicket.

Ben Duckett missed out, caught off Hannon-Dalby for eight but Ravi Ashwin and Paul Coughlin took Notts past 400 for only the second time this year.

Championship Preview: Nottingham v Warwickshire, 16-19 September 2019

First-team coach Jim Troughton has challenged his Warwickshire side to finish the Specsavers County Championship season “really strongly” starting away to Nottinghamshire tomorrow.

The Bears will arrive at Trent Bridge having secured their Division One status for 2020 by dominating title-chasing Essex during all four days of a draw at Edgbaston last week.

Let’s see if we can catch up Surrey and Kent and if we can put in two good performances you never know.

Jim Troughton

To be safe with two games, against Nottinghamshire this week and at home to Yorkshire next, remaining is a fine effort from the players and management from a season which has brought an extraordinary and unprecedented catalogue of injuries for the Bears to contend with.

But, against a Notts side already condemned to the relegation, Troughton wants his team to sustain the high performance-levels they showed against Essex.

“The pressure is off but I really hope that the attitude of the lads stays spot on,” he said. “The fact that we are going to be a Division One team again next year is a phenomenal effort from this group of guys considering the circumstances this year and all the injuries we have had, but there are still eight days cricket to play and the challenge is to finish really strongly.

“We don’t want to finish in the bottom two, so let’s see if we can catch up Surrey and Kent and if we can put in two good performances you never know.

“It would be nothing more that these guys deserve for the effort they have put in over what has been an odd season for us in many ways. Hopefully we can finish it on a high.”

Young batsman Rob Yates could be available to return at Trent Bridge after missing the Essex game through illness but wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose is likely to be ruled out again with a stomach problem.

SQUAD: Patel, Ambrose, Banks, E Brookes, H Brookes, Burgess, Garrett, Hain, Hannon-Dalby, Lamb, Miles, Rhodes, Sibley, Thomson, Yates.

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