Day 2

Rikki Clarke sent the spectators scurrying for cover with a brutal assault on Northamptonshire’s bowling on the final day of Warwickshire’s two-day friendly at Edgbaston.

As the Bears replied to Northamptonshire total of 200 with 251 for eight, captain Ian Bell scored 64 (86 balls, 11 fours) and Jonathan Trott made 52 (58 balls, nine fours) before Clarke launched his attack.

After a circumspect start, scoring just a single from his first 33 balls, the all-rounder scored 60 from his next 46 balls, smiting six sixes and four fours. He ended with 61 from 79 balls, having added 87 with Sam Hain (38 not out, 58 balls, six fours).

“It was good to see the guys get some time at the crease,” said first-team coach Jim Troughton. “They were tricky batting conditions, damp and gloomy with the ball nibbling about, and Northamptonshire bowled well, but Belly and Trotty showed their class.

“Then after we lost a little cluster of wickets, Rikki and Sam stabilised things. Rikki batted really well, very watchfully at first, as you have to in those conditions. Then sometimes it just takes one shot to get you going and that’s what happened because he went on to play some fantastic shots.

“All in all it was a really useful couple of days for us and credit to both teams for getting in so much cricket. It was pretty dark out there at times.”

After the planned 10.30am start was delayed for half an hour by rain, Warwickshire resumed on 27 for two and Bell and Trott batted for most of the morning for a partnership of 99 in 122 balls.

Unbeaten on 55 out of 123 for three at lunch, Bell added just nine in an afternoon session which brought Clarke’s fireworks, supported by Hain’s steady unbeaten 38.

After tea, Northamptonshire began their second innings and made 56 without loss before the weather closed in for good.

* Warwickshire’s scheduled 50-over friendly against Leicestershire at Edgbaston on Friday has been cancelled and the Bears will instead spend the day engaged in red-ball practice at Edgbaston.

“With the championship season so close, both Leicestershire and us have decided to spend the day on red-ball work,” said Troughton. “I am sorry if some of our members are disappointed that there will be no 50-over game to watch but we see this as a key part our preparations towards starting the championship season a week down the line. We thank everyone for their support.”

Day 1

Keith Barker hit the ground running with two excellent spells of left-arm swing on the first day of Warwickshire’s two-day friendly against Northamptonshire at Edgbaston.

Barker is the reigning Specsavers County Championship Most Valuable Player, having taken the title for his all-round exploits in four-day cricket last season.

And he looked in a mood to mount a strong defence of that crown as he delivered 13-8-13-3, at one stage conceding just a single in eight overs, on the first day of senior cricket at Edgbaston this year.

Barks bowled superbly and the spinners did well after lunch. It was good to see Sunny add a couple of wickets in England to the ones he took in Dubai.

Jim Troughton

As agreed by the teams, Northamptonshire, for whom 12 players batted, batted for 60 overs up to tea at which point they had scored 200 with ten wickets down.

At one stage they were 20 for four having been rocked by Barker’s new-ball spell of 8-5-7-3, during which he bowled Max Holden, trapped Rob Newton lbw and had Josh Cobb caught by wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose.

Rob Keogh (94, 121 balls) led a fightback, supported by Steven Crook whose 46-ball 39 ended when he fell lbw to Jonathan Trott, the ball after pulling the medium-pace for six.

The Bears’ bowling plan was affected when they lost Chris Wright with a thumb injury. After bowling just two overs, Wright dived for a ball at mid-on and jarred his right thumb. He left the field in some discomfort but it is hoped the injury is not serious and he could bowl tomorrow.

In the afternoon session there were two wickets apiece for spinners Sunny Singh (two for 36) and Josh Poysden (two for 46) while Rikki Clarke and Matt Lamb ended with one wicket each.

“It was a good workout, although losing Wrighty did affect our plans,” said first-team coach Jim Troughton. “We went in with only three senior seamers – Wright, Barker and Clarke – so to lose one meant we had to change things round quite a lot. Wrighty was in quite a bit of discomfort but it seems to be easing and hopefully he will be okay to have a bowl when Northants bat again after tea tomorrow.

“Barks bowled superbly and the spinners did well after lunch. It was good to see Sunny add a couple of wickets in England to the ones he took in Dubai.”

Warwickshire batted after tea but reached only 27 for two (Alex Mellor out for 12 and Ateeq Javid for ten) before play was ended by bad light and rain. Due to the early finish today, play will start at 10.30am tomorrow with the Bears batting for 75 overs, weather permitting, and Northamptonshire batting again after tea.