Day Four – Lunch

Warwickshire were denied a chance to press for victory over Nottinghamshire when the final day of their Specsavers County Championship Division One match was washed out at Edgbaston.

The home side had built a strong position from which to put pressure on an out-of-form Nottinghamshire side which, trailing by 159 on first innings, was due to resume on 81 for two.

That’s 740 overs we have lost in championship cricket so far this summer – nigh on eight days of play

Dougie Brown

But persistent rain throughout the morning showed no sign of relenting so the game was called off at 1pm.

It meant that Warwickshire had to settle for a sixth draw from eight championship games and, for the third time this season, were prevented by rain from advancing to a likely victory.

“A lot of teams have suffered from the weather this season but of course it is pretty frustrating,” said director of cricket Dougie Brown. “That’s 740 overs we have lost in championship cricket so far this summer – nigh on eight days of play.

“When you are looking to play a style of cricket that evolves over the entirety of a four-day game it’s annoying when you keep having to try to cram in a result in three days because of the weather.

“It has cost us a few match-winning positions but a lot of teams have suffered. We still take plenty of positives from the game – the guys bowled beautifully and the way they challenged the batsmen all the way through was high quality. “

Nottinghamshire, meanwhile, were saved a potentially awkward last-day rearguard action but their moderate form in the championship continues. They have not won in eight games since the opening round of the season and now prepare to face Lancashire at Trent Bridge on Sunday, after a home NatWestT20Blast tussle with Durham Jets on Friday.

“We have to be realistic and say we were on the wrong end of the game for what was played,” said director of cricket Mick Newell. “So from our perspective eight points from a draw is welcome at the moment.

“We weren’t in a position where we were winning the match at any stage but we would like to think we would have turned it round.”

Reinforcements are nigh, though, for Nottinghamshire. Veteran spinner Imran Tahir is due to arrive on Friday and make his debut in the Blast against the Jets and then also figure in the championship match against Lancashire for which Nottinghamshire also expect to have Stuart Broad available and Chris Read back from injury.

Day Three

The rain which has so far plagued this season returned to frustrate Warwickshire’s push for victory over Nottinghamshire on the third day of their Specsavers County Championship Division One tussle at Edgbaston.

After a full morning session, only 6.3 overs were possible after lunch before heavy rain arrived with Nottinghamshire, trailing by 159 on first innings, on 81 for two.

If we can get on the field tomorrow we are still in with a great chance of forcing victory. We were a bit tame with the ball before lunch today but went out there after lunch with a different mindset and the guys were excellent.

Dougie Brown

The visitors’ batting line-up, very fragile in recent weeks, has work still to do to save the game, though is likely to get further help from above with more bad weather forecast for the final day.

In the morning Warwickshire took their first innings from 283 for eight to 311 against an attack deprived of paceman Jake Ball who stayed off the field with a sore elbow. In his absence the home side was taken to a third batting point by Mark Adair who first championship innings at Edgbaston was a valuable 32 (36 balls, three fours and a six).

After Adair lifted Brett Hutton to long-leg and Boyd Rankin bat-padded Dan Christian to short-leg, Nottinghamshire went in again needing to show much greater resolve with the bat than in the first innings.

After the early loss of Jake Libby, who edged Keith Barker to second slip, they did so as Steven Mullaney and Michael Lumb added 67 in 22 overs. The departure of Lumb (32, 67 balls, three fours), lbw pushing forward to Jeetan Patel in the fourth over after lunch, left them in still in deep peril but the prospect of much play on the final day is remote.

Day Two

A bullish middle-order recovery lifted Warwickshire into command against Nottinghamshire on the second day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Edgbaston.

When Tim Ambrose and Sam Hain came together just after lunch, Warwickshire were 48 for four and the match had produced 200 runs for 14 wickets, a puzzlingly thin yield on a surface which, while slow, holds no great demons.

Ambrose promptly put the pitch into perspective by striking 11 fours in a 61-ball half-century which proved to be a springboard to the first period of batting control in the match.

The wicketkeeper’s rapacious 72 (94 balls, 13 fours), along with Hain’s 39 (69 balls, six fours) and Rikki Clarke’s 74 (137 balls, six fours, one six) elevated Warwickshire to 283 for eight, 131 ahead, at the close.

For Nottinghamshire, without a championship win since the first round of matches, the worries mount. To growing concerns about a struggling batting line-up was added another injury blow to the bowling when Luke Fletcher, in the team due to Harry Gurney’s bruised heel, limped off with a groin strain after the first ball of his 11th over.

Before this match Warwickshire director of cricket Dougie Brown called for his team to be more ruthless in championship cricket. They have Nottinghamshire down – can they finish them off?

After resuming on 125 for six, Nottinghamshire lost their last four wickets for another 27, concluding with the stumping of Jake Ball, Ambrose’s sixth dismissal of the innings. Jeetan Patel ended with three for nine, Clarke, the pick of the attack, three for 24 and Boyd Rankin three for 42.

Ball then sent out a strident message to England’s selectors with a fiery pre-lunch burst of 5.1-1-12-3, as Varun Chopra, Andy Umeed and Ian Bell edged into the cordon.

When Jonathan Trott was lbw to Brett Hutton’s fifth ball, it was 48 for four and game on. But Hain and Ambrose halted the collapse with a stand of 69 in 15 overs and, after Hain edged off-spinner Matthew Carter behind, Ambrose and Clarke added 64 in 20.

Mullaney’s third smart slip-catch of the innings removed Ambrose, off Samit Patel, but another valuable partnership followed as Clarke advanced to a measured half-century (106 balls) in a stand of 55 with Keith Barker. The latter was stumped off Mullaney and Clarke clipped Ball to deep mid-wicket five overs before the close but Nottinghamshire have some serious batting to do to escape trouble.

Day One

Nottinghamshire’s brittle batting found no respite in Birmingham as they struggled to 125 for six against Warwickshire on a rain-affected opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Edgbaston.

After last week’s double implosion against Surrey at The Oval, where failure to reach 200 in either innings left them beaten by 228 runs, the East Midlanders were eager to occupy the crease at length after choosing to bat.

But only Jake Libby (59, 173 balls, five fours) showed the necessary resolve and technique on a slow pitch to defy for long against an attack robustly led by Boyd Rankin and Rikki Clarke.

When rain arrived just before tea to end play for the day, Rankin had three for 28 from 14 overs including a fiery mid-afternoon burst of three for four in 24 balls which eviscerated the middle order.

I think we bowled well as a unit, building pressure and we kept them to two runs per over pretty much all the whole time.

Boyd Rankin

Clarke has so far collected just one wicket but the sustained pressure he imposed, first with the new ball then again after lunch, is accurately-reflected by figures of 14-5-18-1.

All day the home seamers bowled accurately to offer no cheap runs to a batting unit short of confidence. Clarke struck first when he hit Steve Mullaney’s off-stump before Michael Lumb’s 62-minute stay for just ten runs ended with an lbw decision from Jeetan Patel’s arm-ball.

Ireland seamer Mark Adair, playing only his second championship match, played his full part in maintaining the pressure, conceding just seven runs in his first seven overs, but it was a post-lunch burst from his countryman that turned the innings from struggle into strife.

After Billy Taylor carelessly lifted Keith Barker into the hands of long-leg, Rankin dropped perfectly into rhythm from the Birmingham End. Rising deliveries induced outside-edges from Rikki Wessels, Samit Patel and Libby, each nestling in the gloves of Tim Ambrose.

Fluent batting is likely to remain tricky on a grudging surface but Nottinghamshire’s seam attack, in which Harry Gurney, who has a bruised heel, has been replaced by Luke Fletcher, will need to bowl with a similar aggression and discipline to the home side’s.

They expect to have Stuart Broad available for the next championship match, against Lancashire at Trent Bridge. How they could do with him at Edgbaston where, back in 2010, he ran through Warwickshire’s batting with a then career-best of eight for 52.