Sam Hain and Alex Mellor completed their pre-season with half-centuries as Warwickshire drew their three-day friendly with Oxford MCCU at The Parks.
On the final day, the Bears advanced their second innings to 241 for five before Ian Bell declared, setting the students a notional victory target of 312 in three hours. Oxford ended on 62 for six as Olly Hannon-Dalby delivered 8-2-8-3 and Sunny Singh took two for 31 to finish his first-class debut with impressive match-figures of 30-17-52-4.
Leading by 70 on first innings, Warwickshire resumed on the final morning on 109 for one and Mellor and Hain soon completed their half-centuries. Mellor made a compact 59 (133 balls, four fours) before lifting Alex Wilkinson to gully and Hain batted with increasing fluency for 81 (124 balls, 11 fours) before playing on to an inswinger from Tom Heathfield.
As batting became awkward on a pitch showing variable bounce, Tim Ambrose reached 16 before departing in the unluckiest way, run out backing up. Keith Barker also made 16 then retired hurt with a jarred hand after a defending a ball from the lively Heathfield which struck the splice.
Another lifter from Heathfield left Rikki Clarke with a painful blow on the arm, which needed treatment, but Clarke was fit to bat on and was still unbeaten on 16 from 80 minutes batting when the declaration arrived.
When Oxford went in again, they lost a wicket in the fourth over. With Barker off the field, though his injury does not appear serious, Singh shared the new ball with Chris Wright and the spinner’s ninth ball bowled Dan Wells for a duck.
David Scott edged Wright to Ambrose, Singh drifted one past Reece Hussain’s defence into the stumps and Hannon-Dalby struck twice in his first three overs. Alex Martin fell lbw playing across the line and Malcolm Lake edged to first slip where Clarke held a sharp, low catch.
When Jack McIver lifted Hannon-Dalby to Mellor at point, the bowler had figures of 6-4-2-3 and Oxford were 38 for six but Bruno Broughton and Ed Ellis held on, surviving a testing over of fast-medium from Hain, before hands were shaken at 5pm.
First-team coach Jim Troughton was pleased to see two young players shine against Oxford MCCU at The Parks as Alex Mellor scored an unbeaten 43, his best for Warwickshire, and Sunny Singh took his first first-class wickets.
Warwickshire closed the second day on 109 for one – 179 ahead overall – after bowling Oxford out for 215.
Seamers Keith Barker (three for 44) and Chris Wright (three for 56) led the wicket-taking but slow left-armer Singh also impressed on his first-class debut. The 20-year-old bowled with excellent control for 15-10-21-2.
When Warwickshire batted a second time, 25-year-old Mellor closed one short of his best first-class score of 44 (for Derbyshire on loan last year) with an assured unbeaten 43 (93 balls, four fours).
“It was really encouraging stuff from the two guys,” Troughton said. “Sunny has just continued the form that he showed when he went away with the Bears academy in Sri Lanka in February. There was some good feedback from that trip from Paul Greetham who said Sunny really led that academy group as a spinner and senior player.
“Then he came to Abu Dhabi with us and led our spin attack with Jeetan Patel and Josh Poysden away. He took responsibility and bowled very well in the two-day games and picked up a four-for in a T20 game out there.
“Now today in very different conditions he showed a lot of control. Nick Cook, who was umpiring, was a very good slow left-armer and he liked what he saw from Sunny which was good to hear.
“Alex missed out in the first innings here but has played really solidly in the second and hopefully will go on and build tomorrow. He looked in good nick, as William Porterfield did in both innings here. Before William went away with Ireland, he did a lot of red-ball batting with us at Edgbaston and looked in good touch and it’s nice to see he still looks that way.”
After resuming in the morning on 47 for two, Oxford lost five wickets in the morning session. Fast, straight balls from Wright removed Jack McIver and Reece Hussain while Barker swung a full delivery into the stumps of Ed Ellis. Singh opened his first-class account by trapping Alex Martin lbw and Olly Hannon-Dalby had Malcolm Lake caught at third slip.
Bruno Broughton (46, 113 balls, seven fours) led some lower-order resistance before he top-edged a pull at Barker. Singh then bowled Jack Grundy, so the spinner has already doubled the wicket-haul harvested by Eric Hollies on his first-class debut (one for 150 against Sussex at Edgbaston in 1932). As Hollies went on to take 2,323 first-class wickets, Singh, surely, is on course for 4,646!
Rikki Clarke rounded off the innings with his 376th first-class wicket when he bowled Alex Wilkinson through a slog.
Bears openers Mellor and Porterfield (36, 75 balls, six fours) then added 75 before the latter retired to enable Sam Hain to get some time at the crease. Hain will resume tomorrow on 24 (54 balls, three fours).
Jonathan Trott started the season in fine style with a century on the opening day of Warwickshire’s three-day friendly against Oxford MCCU at The Parks.
First-team coach Jim Troughton had called upon his players to be clinical in their final pre-season warm-up match and Trott and William Porterfield were exactly that as they amassed a second-wicket partnership of 187 in 54 overs.
Trott led the way with his 40th first-class century – a polished unbeaten 130 from 193 balls with 20 fours. Ireland captain Porterfield made an assured 89 (189 balls with ten fours and three sixes) to show that he is in good fettle in the run-up to the opening Specsavers County Championship Division One game of the season, against Surrey at The Oval starting on Friday.
After choosing to bat, the Bears lost an early wicket when Alex Mellor fell for a duck in the third over, caught off Alex Wilkinson when he was a little unlucky to pick out the fielder at point. But Trott was quickly into his stride, taking four fours from a Wilkinson over.
Against an Oxford side captained by Warwick-born Jack Grundy, a graduate of the Bears’ youth system, the second-wicket pair had to be vigilant against an attack in which Tom Heathfield, a 19-year-old seamer from Northampton, distinguished himself with sustained accuracy which saw him bowl 17 overs for just 21 runs.
But Trott reached a fluent century before retiring out at tea and Porterfield was closing in on his ton when he fell lbw to off-spinner Jack McIver.
Ian Bell struck 33 (59 balls, two fours, one six) before chipping the first ball with the second new ball to short mid-on. The skipper then soon declared to allow his bowlers ten overs at the students’ batsmen and both openers enjoyed some early success.
Keith Barker trapped Dan Wells lbw with his sixth delivery and Chris Wright, showing no ill effects from the jarred thumb which he sustained in the field last week, had David Scott caught behind. There was just time for spinner Sunny Singh to deliver one over, his first in first-class cricket on his debut, and the 20-year-old started with a maiden.