Warwickshire will face Somerset at Edgbaston tomorrow determined to add a dash of ruthlessness to their solid cricket in the early weeks of the Specsavers County Championship season.
The early Division One table is incredibly tight with just nine points separating Nottinghamshire at the top from Surrey at the bottom.
A combination of bad weather and good batting pitches have led to numerous draws, with only two Division One matches so far yielding positive results.
The Bears, who sit second in the table, have enjoyed the better of their three drawn games and built strong positions only to not force them forward to victories.
That was due partly to time lost to the weather but director of cricket Dougie Brown knows that the team which wins the title come September will be the one which has turned most situations of promise into wins.
“That is something we have spoken about,” said Brown. “I have been really pleased with our cricket in the first three games but we know that when we get ourselves on top in games we have to drive home the advantage.
“That’s not easy. The First Division is full of good teams who bat deep and certainly gone are the days when you get the opposition seven or eight down and they roll over.
“Over the years we have shown probably more than any other side that batting deep can turn games. But every team does these days, so we have got to find a way through that.”
Warwickshire have named an unchanged squad as they approach the Somerset match on the back of a week without a game. That enabled the players to have a couple of days off and then get in some white-ball practice in advance of Birmingham Bears’ NatWest T20 Blast campaign which starts with a visit to Notts Outlaws on May 20.
But right now attention is focused solely on the four-dayer against a Somerset side with whom the Bears have had some battle-royals in recent years.
“I think the game down at Taunton in 2012, when we lost by one wicket, was probably as good a game as most of the guys have played in,” said Brown. “We have had some great tussles with them over the years and, with the weather improving, it will just be good to get a game in which, touch wood, can take its proper course.
“There has been some bad weather around and some pretty benign pitches so the championship season hasn’t properly got going yet. You could say the season starts here.”
Somerset director of cricket Matthew Maynard is keen to see his team get on the front-foot in a game after three draws from which they have taken just seven batting points, half as many as the Bears have seized from their three games.
“We haven’t been ahead as yet, we have chased all three games,” Maynard said. “So our next objective is to try and get ahead in the game and we will be trying to do that up at Edgbaston.”
Warwickshire squad: I.Bell (Captain), T.Ambrose (Wicket-Keeper), K.Barker, V.Chopra, R.Clarke, L.Evans, S.Hain, J.Patel, J.Poysden, B.Rankin. J.Trott, I.Westwood, C.Woakes, C.Wright.