Report: Warwickshire v Northamptonshire, County Championship
Warwickshire and Northamptonshire’s meandered their way to the inevitable LV= Insurance County Championship draw at Edgbaston where the match concluded with just ten wickets having fallen in four days.
The final instalment of stultifying stalemate saw the home side, in reply to Northamptonshire’s 597 for six take, their first innings to 568 for four.
Sam Hain (202 from 494 balls, 16 fours, one six) and Matt Lamb (155 from 230 balls with 16 fours) extended their partnership to an unbroken 254, a Warwickshire fifth-wicket record against Northamptonshire.
Against a toiling attack on a flat pitch, Hain and Lamb gently filled their boots during a final day which, like the three which preceded it, presented a less than compelling spectacle. The batting dominance was not entirely due to the pitch as both bowling attacks, missing spearheads Liam Norwell and Ben Sanderson respectively, persevered nobly but lacked potency.
After Warwickshire resumed on 394 for four on the final morning, Hain and Lamb batted serenely through the morning to take the total to 483 at lunch. Hain reached 150 from 378 balls while Lamb, having scored briskly the previous evening, settled for quiet accumulation. He advanced to 98 at lunch and reached his ton (163 balls) shortly after.
There was little that visiting skipper Ricardo Vasconcelos could do except rotate his bowlers, though he did not exercise that option very much at one end. Former England spinner Simon Kerrigan bowled unchanged at the Pavilion End from 2.55pm on the third day until lunchtime on the fourth – a gruelling saga of 37 overs, delivered with not a shred of assistance from the pitch.
The left armer stuck to his task heroically but could have been forgiven, when he returned home with figures of 52-4-174-0, for seriously considering the removal of the captain from his Christmas card list.
It was the little-seen medium pace of Emilio Gay to which Vasconcelos turned for the last hour and, from this bowler, did Hain clip the leg-side single which moved him to 200 from 489 balls, 473 of which he had not struck for four.
Hands were shaken at 4.40pm and this match had, for most onlookers, slipped from memory by 4.45pm.
Batters continue to make hay at Edgbaston as Warwickshire replied to Northamptonshire’s 597 for six with 394 for four on the third day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match.
Warwickshire began the day under pressure, on 88 for two needing 359 to avoid the follow on, but responded with the requisite resilience as Sam Hain (140 not out, 337 balls) and Will Rhodes (99, 173) added 201 for the fourth wicket.
Hain, whose career-best 208 arrived against Northamptonshire in 2014, played barely a false shot in seven hours at the crease and his reassuring presence helped Rhodes to relocate some form and fluency. The captain’s six previous innings this season had yielded just 73 runs.
As an excellent batting track refused to deteriorate, all the bowlers could do was persevere in the sunshine. They did so commendably, led by Jack White who kept going manfully for 26-6-84-2 – very worthy figures in these conditions.
Warwickshire resumed on the third morning on 88 for two, 359 from the follow on. They needed a day of serious batting and delivered it. Only one wicket fell in first two sessions when, midway through the morning, Dom Sibley (52, 170 balls) edged a fine ball Luke Procter behind.
Rhodes looked a little uncertain early on and was reprieved on 22 when he chipped Rob Keogh to mid on but Simon Kerrigan was on his heels and the ball fell just in front of him. The Warwickshire skipper gained fluency from that point – the straight-driven four off Matt Kelly which took him to 50 was exquisite.
Hain was at his implacable best. He went to the crease armed with a first class average of 76 against Northamptonshire, had ensured it’s improvement by mid-afternoon and reached his 12th first class century (239 balls) just before tea.
Rhodes was a single away from his ton when the impressive White, plugging away on a hot afternoon, induced an edge and Lewis McManus took another catch. The captain was afforded the warmest of ovations back to the pavilion.
At 314 for four, the Bears still had work to do to reach the follow on figure and officially consign the match to stalemate. Hain and Matt Lamb ensured there was no late collapse with an unbroken stand of 80 in the last 23 overs of the day. Hain’s concentration remained absolute while Lamb continued his sparkling form this season with a perky unbeaten 47 from 77 balls.
Northamptonshire piled up their biggest ever total against Warwickshire – 597 for six – to put the champions under serious pressure on the second day of their LV=Insurance County Championship tussle at Edgbaston.
Needing 448 to avoid the follow on, Warwickshire will resume on the third morning on 88 for two, their decision to bowl first on a benign pitch having spectacularly backfired.
After Ricardo Vasconcelos and Will Young scored centuries on the first day, Luke Procter added another, a painstaking unbeaten 100 from 199 balls in four and a half hours. Supported by Josh Cobb (66, 95), the in-form former Lancashire player lifted the visitors to an imposing total against an injury-hit attack manfully led by Nathan McAndrew (three for 121).
After 154.1 overs in the field, Warwickshire then lost Alex Davies and Rob Yates in the first 20 overs. They will look to Dom Sibley (37 not out, 120) balls to lead the required massive rearguard action.
After resuming on the second morning on 372 for two, Northamptonshire quickly lost Emilio Gay, bowled by McAndrew for 45 (117 balls). Rob Keogh batted positively for 27 (28 balls) but was then bowled through the gate by McAndrew who managed to prise some life from the batsman-friendly track.
Procter plodded through the morning session for 20 runs but Cobb showed more enterprise. He struck four fours and three sixes and his fifth first class century was beckoning when he responded to a dodgy call for a single from his partner and was beaten by Davies’ direct hit from cover.
Davies then accepted a catch on the square leg boundary to remove Lewis McManus and end Danny Briggs’ long wait for a wicket. Procter and Matthew Kelly added an unbroken 62 in ten overs before the declaration arrived when Procter ladled Yates over the long leg rope to reach his sixth first class century.
Northamptonshire’s 17th-biggest first class total, albeit slowly accumulated at times, put their hosts under scoreboard pressure and their bowlers struck twice early on. Davies sped to 29 (three fours and a six) but fell lbw to Jack white and Yates edged Kelly to Young at second slip.
At 57 for two the champions were facing a mountainous escape mission. Sibley and Sam Hain avoided further mishaps in the last 18 overs of the day but much of that mountain remains ahead of the Bears.
Ricardo Vasconcelos and Will Young racked up a record opening stand after Northamptonshire were put in by Warwickshire in their LV= Insurance County Championship match at Edgbaston.
The openers stayed together until after tea to add 287 in 64.2 overs and lift their side towards a commanding 372 for two at the close of the first day.
Vasconcelos, whose previous seven innings this season had yielded a combined 90 runs, stroked 156 (197 balls, 21 fours, two sixes) before falling to the second ball after tea. New Zealand batter Young scored a polished 134 (230 balls, 16 fours, two sixes), his 13th first class century and first for Northamptonshire.
All that Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes could do was rotate his depleted bowling attack and rue his decision to insert. That was a surprising move, especially given that pace spearhead Liam Norwell was again ruled out by injury, so joined England seamers Chris Woakes and Olly Stone on the sidelines.
Against a weakened bowling attack, on an excellent batting pitch, Northamptonshire made hay while Rhodes could only digest his ill-fortune in winning the toss.
It was soon apparent that the pitch was very good for batting and, to Warwickshire’s dismay, the hazy conditions offered no swing. Olly Hannon-Dalby delivered his customary fine new ball spell (5-4-1-0) but runs then began to arrive steadily.
Northamptonshire were on 119, with both batsmen on 51, at lunch, before Vasconecolos accelerated to take them to 287 at tea. The 24-year-old’s first 50 having come from 81 balls, his second took 59 and his third just 53. Young, meanwhile, advanced with quiet authority with neither batter offering a chance in the first two sessions.
The breakthrough finally arrived immediately after tea when Nathan McAndrew, making his home debut, trapped Vasconcelos lbw. That ended what was comfortably Northamptonshire’s record opening stand against Warwickshire, overtaking the 176 by Brian Reynolds and Colin Milburn at Northampton in 1964.
Young continue to chug along chancelessly until he departed in infuriating fashion when he tickled a leg-side catch to wicketkeeper Michael Burgess off Hannon-Dalby.
The flurry of two wickets in 18 overs was as good as it got for Warwickshire. Emilio Gay, having spent two sessions waiting to go in next, batted solidly through the final session for 45 in company, for the last hour, with the in-form Luke Procter (17 not out).
The visitors will resume tomorrow pretty confident of surpassing their previous record total against Warwickshire (507) and with half an eye on their record total against anyone (781). The Bears will just wish they could have today back again.