Captain Will Rhodes has heaped "huge credit" on Warwickshire's bowlers for their sterling work with the bat in the LV= Insurance County Championship opener against Surrey.

At 41 for four, in reply to 428, the Bears were in deep trouble and even after Matt Lamb (106) and Sam Hain (78) dug them out of that hole, they were still facing a significant first innings deficit at 280 for seven.

But Michael Burgess unfurled a superb, career-best 186 which he was able to do because of the staunch support from numbers nine, ten and 11 – Craig Miles, Henry Brookes and Hannon-Dalby. They helped Burgess add 55, 74 and 122 respectively, meaning the last three wickets added 251 in 70 overs to lift their side to 531.   

The last hour of tail-wagging, as Burgess accelerated and Hannon-Dalby got off the mark from his 67th ball, was good fun, but the lower-order runs were crucial in the context of the game – and, says Rhodes, due reward for the bowlers’ hard work with the bat during the winter.

“Huge credit goes to Olly and all the bowlers for all the work they have put in on their batting in the winter. Milo and Brookesy batted really well too and all the hours they spent in the Indoor Centre in the winter months is for exactly situations like we were in against Surrey, to get bonus points and get the team safe and to help people to milestones like Olly did with Burge.

Will Rhodes

“Fair play to those guys, they are in the team to bowl, but also to help guide us to some big totals when we need them to. Those fifty partnerships down the order matter so much, especially when you have been 41 for four.

“They gave perfect support to Burge who batted brilliantly for his career best. I’m so pleased for him. He works really hard on his game and is getting his rewards.”

Thirteen points from a draw with one of Division One’s strongest teams is a satisfactory start for Rhodes’ men who sit out this week’s round of matches before resuming at home to Essex next Thursday.

“It was a solid start for us,” the captain said. “There were plenty of positives and also a few things for us to reflect on so it is good now for us to have a week without a game so we can work on those before we come back against a very good Essex team.

“Alex Davies will be available, and hopefully Liam Norwell and Nathan McAndrew, so there are three big players who want to come in. The guys who played against Surrey certainly did everything they could to stay in the team so we could have some nice selection headaches next week.”

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