Championship Report: Warwickshire v Gloucestershire
Day Two: Close of play report
Warwickshire emphatically reasserted themselves at the top of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two by crushing Gloucestershire by an innings and 47 runs inside two days at Edgbaston.
Gloucestershire’s batting folded pitifully for the second time in successive days as they followed their first innings 127 with 103 all out.
The home seam-attack, led by Ryan Sidebottom with four for 42, ruthlessly exploited some feckless batting to fully exploit a dominant position earned by the skilful work of opening batsman Will Rhodes.
The former Yorkshire player struck 137 from 233 balls with 16 fours, a superb innings spanning five and a half hours in overcast, seamer-friendly conditions, to lift Warwickshire to 277.
His third championship century of the season underpinned an important win for the Division Two leaders. Defeat to Middlesex at Lord’s in their previous match had allowed the pursuers to close in, but this two-day win put the chasing pack back under pressure.
Following a dreadful all-round performance on the first day, Gloucestershire were at least much improved with the ball on the second and took four wickets in the morning session. After Warwickshire resumed on 170 for two, Craig Miles dismissed Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott in five balls. It was fine bowling as the 24-year-old jagged one back in to knock out Bell’s off and middle stumps then moved one away to find Trott outside-edge.
Rhodes’s application was faultless but partners came and went.
Sam Hain started with two sumptuous drives but reached only (25, 51 balls) before lifting Chris Liddle to point. Tim Ambrose sliced Miles to first slip before Rhodes was finally uprooted, bowled on the charge by spinner George Drissell.
Jeetan Patel was bowled by Matt Taylor then Miles completed his 12th first-class five-for by taking a return catch from Olly Hannon-Dalby and having Sidebottom caught in the gully next ball. He finished with five for 69.
Gloucestershire’s second innings was soon damaged when Miles Hammond cut Sidebottom to gully. It then lurched from 27 for one to 27 for four as three wickets fell in nine balls. Chris Dent edged Sidebottom to second slip before Keith Barker had James Bracey caught behind and induced Gareth Roderick to play on.
Ryan Higgins edged Sidebottom behind and debutant Ben Charlesworth, having played correctly for five from 31 balls, edged Hannon-Daly to second slip just before tea.
Just before tea, Benny Howell (32, 36 balls) had his off-stump flattened by Chris Wright and the end came quickly in the final session as Sidebottom bowled Miles, Matt Taylor hoiked Wright to long leg and Drissell edged Rhodes to second slip.
Day One: Close of play report
Warwickshire totally dominated the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Gloucestershire at Edgbaston, closing on 171 for two after bowling the visitors out for 127.
On their first championship visit to Birmingham for ten years, Gloucestershire must have wished they had stayed away longer after their illness and injury-affected side folded spectacularly in the afternoon session.
Experienced seamer Chris Wright led the demolition with five for 32 as the visitors, having reached 52 without loss, lost all ten wickets for 75 runs in 27.4 overs. Well though Wright and his colleagues bowled, they were abetted by some feckless batting with several wickets due to shots more suited to white-ball cricket.
The Division One leaders then built ruthlessly on their bowlers’ work as openers Will Rhodes (101 not out, 146 balls, 15 fours) and Dominic Sibley (65, 121 balls, 11 fours) took them past Gloucestershire’s score.
There was no clue as to the carnage ahead as Gloucestershire openers Miles Hammond and Chris Dent put 50 on the board but then they fell in successive overs. Hammond edged Ryan Sidebottom behind and Dent (35, 61 balls, seven fours) was trapped lbw by Jeetan Patel.
A stand of 49 between James Bracey and Benny Howell took the score to a respectable 101 for two but Patel’s dismissal of the former, lbw, just before lunch paved the way for a post-lunch dismantling of the innings.
Wright, who will join Leicestershire on a two-year contract after this season, started the collapse in the first over of the afternoon when Howell lifted carelessly to point. The seamer then knocked out Ryan Higgins’ off-stump before Keith Barker removed Ben Charlesworth, caught behind, and Craig Miles who pulled to mid-wicket.
Miles was not the first batsman to contribute to his own downfall and nor was he the last as George Drissell lifted Wright to mid-off. That left the former Middlesex and Essex seamer within sight of his 11th first-class five-for which he duly completed by making a mess of Matt Taylor’s stumps and trapping Gareth Roderick lbw.
Gloucestershire having scored 21 for seven in 13 overs after lunch, Rhodes and Sibley rattled up 69 in 16 overs up to tea to complete perhaps the most one-sided session in the history of the county championship.
The opening pair added 161 before Sibley inside-edged Higgins on to his pad and was caught at gully. Nightwatchman Wright soon fell lbw to Chris Liddle but Rhodes posted his third championship century of the season in the penultimate over of near-perfect day for as the Division Two leaders.