County Championship - Division One (final day of four, at Edgbaston):
Warwickshire 490 (A G R Loudon 104, J O Troughton 100, D L Maddy 71) & 189-7dec (T R Ambrose 51no)
drew with Lancashire 333 (L D Sutton 111, P J Horton 76) & 189-3 (M B Loye 105no).
Warwickshire ran out of time, according to Heath Streak, the captain, as the opening championship match of the season, subsided gently to a draw.
At 113 for six, an overall lead of 270, Warwickshire resumed facing the very real prospect of losing. But further trouble following that caused on Friday evening by Gary Keedy, the left-arm orthodox spin bowler, was snuffed out.
"We won a lot of games last year bowling last and it (the pitch) generally gets harder and starts to turn," Streak said. "And we felt, with the variable bounce, if we managed to get them a target we could have ‘snuck’ it.
"I think they bowled well and they definitely pulled us back in terms of the time we wanted to give ourselves to bowl at them. We were looking more around 85-86 overs and, with the spinners, we would have had eight or nine overs with the [second] new ball. But because they bowled well at us and pulled us back a bit we had to declare a bit later than we would have liked to have."
Had he any regrets about not enforcing the follow-on on Friday?
"There was none of us that contemplated it at that stage. I think if we were looking around the 240-250 mark ahead we would have considered it but with around the 160-mark we thought, you know, you don’t want to be batting last with Keedy. We felt he bowled well and if you are batting last on that deck trying to get 180 it is not easy."
Streak added: "It was a solid performance, we had the upper hand, we dominated probably three and a quarter days, so it was a good solid start."
Warwickshire added 76 off 17 overs before Streak declared at 12.04pm, leaving Lancashire to score 347 off a minimum of 77 overs.
Tim Ambrose and Tim Groenewald added another 49 runs in 13.2 overs — a partnership of 67 in only 20.3 overs from 96 for six on Friday evening — when Groenewald lobbed a catch to deep point off the wayward yet dangerous Oliver Newby with an uncontrolled cut. His 63-ball contribution could have been curtailed at 13 when Dominic Cork, at first slip, dropped a low to his left of Glen Chapple and sharp enough for it to bring four runs.
Upon Groenewald’s departure, Dale Steyn lashed out with well-timed shots for 17 off only 11 balls as Ambrose (51 not out, six fours, 77 balls) reached a tidy half-century, driving and cutting decisively. Keedy, swept persistently, conceded 34 from his final eight overs.
Iain Sutcliffe, after two driven fours off Steyn, fell to Loudon’s third ball, an outside edge to a front-foot cover drive going low to Troughton, driving forward at deep gully, in the seventh over.
Mark Chilton dropped anchor while Loye sought to attack, straight-driving a six and cutting a four off one Loudon over, before Loudon had Chilton caught at slip —Jonathan Trott diving low to his right — with the fifth ball of his post-lunch spell.
Stuart Law, taking 11 runs off three shots off Jimmy Anyon, and Loye, jabbing Anyon for successive fours backward of square leg, induced Steak to have an all-spin attack.
Troughton relieved Anyon at the Pavilion end and, in the remaining 11 overs to tea, he and Loudon conceded only 31 runs, the only boundary being Law’s perfect square cut answering Troughton’s change to over the wicket at the end of an otherwise testing over.
Loye (105 not out, 11 fours, three sixes, 195 balls) progressed to 77 off 121 balls by tea (136 for two, 46 overs).
Loudon and Troughton changed ends. An early lofted drive for four beyond mid-off suggested a chase may yet be in motion. But in the 12 overs that the spinners bowled together after tea the only other boundaries were two sweeps for six by Loye off Loudon. A high proportion of deliveries required playing with the bat, the field-placements remained tight; neither side could improve their situation markedly.
Loudon parried a Loye drive and ran to collect the ball, turning and throwing as he bent for Ambrose to take the bails off and run out Law in the 57th over. Two overs later Loye reached his 39th first-class century off 168 balls, Groenewald bowled two maidens . . . play ended at 5.05pm after 66 overs.
Mushtaq Ahmed rolls into town this week with a six-shooter in his right hand and hand grenades up his sleeve following the eight-wicket massacre of Kent at Hove by Sussex, the champions. The Pakistani wrist-spinner was responsible for ten victims; Warwickshire need their bomb disposal unit on full alert on Wednesday. n Ian Bell, Warwickshire’s England Test and one-day batsman, will be available for the Friends Provident Trophy match against Derbyshire at Derby on Bank Holiday Monday, May 7, and for the championship match against Worcestershire at New Road, starting on May 9.
The first Test match against the West Indies, at Lord’s starting on Thursday, May 17, is likely to preclude Bell from playing in the Trophy match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on the previous Sunday.