Jim Troughton and Tim Ambrose wasted no time in adjusting the record books when Warwickshire started their home championship programme against Hampshire last week.
As the Bears piled up 630 for eight declared, Troughton and Ambrose put on 335 – the highest fifth-wicket partnership for the county.
It was impressive work from the pair who took advantage of tiring opposition later on but earlier negotiated some aggressive bowling, with the ball doing a bit, from Chris Tremlett in particular.
As the pair settled in, milestones came and went. The partnership reached 100 in 23 overs.
At 179 it became Warwickshire’s fifth-wicket best against Hampshire, surpassing the 178 by Neal Abberley and nightwatchman Steve Rouse at Dean Park, Bournemouth in 1976 (which set up a thrilling 18-run win for the Bears as Eddie Hemmings took 13 for 237 in the match).
The 200 stand arrived in 52 overs. 300 in 73. Then at 323 came the big one - Warwickshire’s all-time fifth-wicket record, displacing the 322 by Brian Lara and Keith Piper against Durham in 1994 when Lara amassed his world record 501.
Troughton ended with 223, his maiden double-century, and Ambrose hit 153 and there appeared no end in sight for the misery of Hampshire’s bowlers when the partnership ended in bizarre fashion.
Ambrose was bowled by James Adams when the ball deflected off his thigh pad. That Ambrose’s appetite for runs was far from sated was clear from his disbelieving expression as he contemplated his broken wicket.
“It was disappointing it ended that way because I felt there were more runs out there,” he said. “The ball hit the underside of my thigh pad and ran on to my stumps – a million to one chance.
“You don’t think of records at the time but, looking back, it is a special feeling. Brian Lara is my favourite player of all time so to take one of his records, albeit not one of the major ones for him, is an honour. I am very proud to be in the Warwickshire record books.
“You never really think of partnerships when you are batting. We were looking at different targets and milestones like getting to the next batting point and getting past their score.
“But when the crowd applauded us for putting on 300 I did look up at the board and think ‘I can’t remember being in a 300 partnership before’.
“Jim batted fantastically well. When he went in we were 12 for two and he turned the match right round. It was disappointing it ended with me getting out that way but pleasing to score 150. I have felt in good nick pretty much all winter but it was important that when I got in and felt in good rhythm I made the most of it.”
So Ambrose now has a second stake in Warwickshire’s all-time record partnerships. He has a share in the fifth-wicket record to go alongside his share in the sixth, the 226 he added with Heath Streak against Worcestershire at New Road in 2007.
Troughton’s name is new on the roll of honour, though it is not an exploit on which he will be dining out. Passing the record passed him by completely until it was pointed out afterwards.
“I was completely unaware of it,” he said. “I just enjoy batting with Amby. I had a long partnership with him at Worcester two years ago when he got 200 and I got 150. “We didn’t really think about the partnership at all. All we were concerned about was the situation of the game.”