Warwickshire beat Surrey by 68 runs
A record stand between Jonathan Trott and Jim Troughton laid the platform for a 68-run victory over Surrey at Edgbaston.
Before last night Warwickshire had lost their last three one-day games and appeared in danger of losing momentum at a vital time. Yet they put the disappointment of the painful losses at Taunton and Lord?s behind them with a polished performance and moved a place nearer the top three.
Some of the gloss was taken off the victory by rivals Derbyshire?s five-wicket win over Yorkshire, but Warwickshire are still assured of promotion if they win all three remaining games.
That will not be easy. Quite apart from the workload ? Warwickshire play on seven of the last eight days of the season ? the weather could also scupper their hopes. A last day meeting with Durham may well decide the winners of the Division Two table.
Trott and Troughton added 144 for the third wicket in just 22 overs, a record for any wicket for the county against Surrey in this competition. They took full advantage of a fine batting pitch, some innocuous bowling and a characteristically sloppy fielding display from a Surrey side that look desperate for the end of the season.
It was a heart-warming stand. Both men have struggled for fluency this summer, but here showed their inherent class in as fine a display of one-day batting as they have produced this season.
Man of the match Trott was awarded his longawaited and thoroughly deserved county cap just before the start of play. Perhaps that inspired him for he looked imperious from the start, driving crisply off front and back foot and pulling with disdain on the way to his second consecutive oneday century.
His 101 came off 111 balls, with nine fours and a six. But perhaps as impressive as the boundaries Trott struck, was the way he placed the ball into the gaps. It was the type of innings this side have been missing and another sign of Trott?s growing maturity.
Troughton survived a hard chance on 65, but otherwise hit the ball beautifully cleanly as he hit 82 off 67 balls, including six fours and five sixes. It was high-quality batting and represented Troughton?s highest one-day score for Warwickshire.
He remains an infuriatingly inconsistent performer, but displays like this show his ability. He is surely worth perseverance.
A Neil Carter blitz ensured the perfect start. Carter cracked 11 fours ? the majority off the middle of his bat ? in a 29-ball halfcentury that set the tone for the rest of the innings.
At 202 for two in the 33rd over, a total of over 300 seemed probable, but Troughton?s dismissal to an ambitious legside flick began a decline.
Rikki Clarke, bowling with decent pace, struck four times in eight balls to finish with career-best figures as Warwickshire lost four for 19 to end on 292 for eight.
Warwickshire?s demise was understandable. Conditions were far too gloomy once the sun set and, despite the presence of floodlights, they were inexplicably not switched on until after the first innings.
It was not much better for Surrey. The four floodlights (there are more for international matches) provided inadequate illumination for a game of this quality and leaves any side losing the toss and batting second at a distinct disadvantage.
Surrey never threatened to win. Though Mark Butcher (31 off 46 balls, four fours) and Clarke (42 off 39 balls, five fours) flattered briefly, Butcher slashed to cover and the admirable Trott defeated Clarke?s attempted sweep.
A last wicket stand of 33 between two of Surrey?s younger ? and noticeably keener ? youngsters, Jade Dernbach and Chris Murtagh, only delayed the inevitable.
James Anyon bowled particularly well, finishing with competition-best figures of three for 44. Hitting the seam and bowling straight at a sharpish pace, Surrey were unable to take the necessary risks against him and perished when they tried.
Troughton followed up his innings with a brilliant catch to dismiss the dangerous Ali Brown; a top-edged pull that flew monstrously high into the dark skies was brilliantly held running in from the point boundary.
Warwickshire have improved vastly as a one-day side this season. Promotion will have to be secured without the help of any overseas players, but on current form, the Bears appear well placed.