It’s game on for the ‘Great Escape, Part Two’ after Warwickshire bolstered their survival hopes with a superb 190-run Specsavers County Championship win over Middlesex at Lord’s.
The Bears bowled the champions out in a session on the third afternoon to complete an amazing fightback victory having been bowled out for 126 on the first day.
After Keith Barker (62 not out) and Chris Wright (41) added a ninth-wicket partnership of 97 to leave Middlesex chasing 327 for victory, Barker (three for 21) and Chris Woakes (three for 38) left the home side’s pursuit in ruins at 45 for six. Ryan Sidebottom then administered the final blow to round off his impressive debut at match figures of six for 70.
Yeah, the Great Escape tune was playing in the dressing-room after the game,” he said. “We know we have a lot to do but in this game we showed what we are capable of.Jim Troughton
For Sidebottom and batsman Dominic Sibley it was truly a debut to remember – and for the Bears, while they remain in deep trouble at the bottom of Division One, there is hope of survival with their recent resurgence in white-ball cricket having clearly spread to red-ball.
The Great Escape sequel is still on. Back in 2010, the Bears were written off as relegated but won four of their five last games to stay up and went on to win the title two years later. A similarly spectacular run-in is needed this time but first-team coach Jim Troughton insists anything is possible if his team carries on the form they hit at Lord’s.
“Yeah, the Great Escape tune was playing in the dressing-room after the game,” he said. “We know we have a lot to do but in this game we showed what we are capable of.
“When we turned up and saw the pitch we knew it would be lively and far from a typical Lord’s pitch, but to bowl them out in a session in their second innings was a brilliant effort. Woakesy showed his class and Barks with the new ball was pretty much unplayable.
“In the morning Barks and Wrighty batted really well to build our advantage and, with bad weather around and the forecast bad for tomorrow, we were even starting to think are we going to have to pull out here? But it worked out perfectly. An hour after the game ended it was raining.
“It’s a great win for us – but it’s just one win and we need to follow it up with a similar performance away to Lancashire in a couple of weeks time. For now, it’s back to T20 and three big games in that, starting at Nottingham on Friday.”
While a great win for all involved, the match provided stunning debuts for Sibley and most of all Sidebottom who had never even been to Lord’s before.
“We made a little presentation to the two guys after the game,” said Troughton. “They have fitted in brilliantly and it really was the stuff of dreams for Ryan, but he bowled very well and fully deserved his wickets.”