Jonathan Trott announced a resounding return to form with a career-beat innings against Cambridge UCCE.
While runs against student attacks must be taken in context, Trott's innings was played on a damp pitch and against some impressive new ball bowling. His success came as colleagues struggled in testing conditions.
It was a fine innings (151 balls, 19 fours and two sixes) and he looked in far better touch by the end of it than at the start.
Warwickshire were mighty grateful to Trott as Chris Wright, a 19-year-old seamer affiliated to Middlesex, and Mohammad Amin, a 20-yearold on first-class debut, had run through the top order.
Wright produced substantial movement in the air at a sharp pace. His was the finest display of bowling on the day. Had Cambridge UCCE held their catches, Warwickshire could have been facing defeat this morning.
Trott was missed twice early, badly at second slip on two and at third slip on 26, driving loosely on each occasion at Wright. Alex Loudon was also given a reprieve at slip off the same bowler, driving without foot movement.
It is unlikely that their coach, Chris Scott, will berate his young charges too harshly. He was the Durham keeper who dropped a certain Brian Lara on 18 at Edgbaston in 1994, remarking to the slips 'I bet he goes on to get 100 now.' Lara, of course, scored a world-record 501 not out. These things happen.
While several Warwickshire wickets owed much to a cavalier attitude, the unfortunate Ian Westwood was unable to move his gloves clear as a delivery reared at him off a good length and could only pop a simple catch to slip; a victim of the early-morning moisture in the pitch.
Michael Powell had looked in good touch, pulling and driving six sweet boundaries, but failed to move his feet into a fierce drive and edged to slip.
Loudon leant back into a drive and lifted an easy catch to cover before Jim Troughton departed first ball, back when he should have been forward, but beaten by a fine delivery that nipped into him.
With three wickets having fallen in as many deliveries, 17-year-old Moeen Ali survived a nervous start on firstclass debut to offer a glimpse of what promises to be a great deal. The way he skipped down the pitch with the light feet of a dancer to deposit the leg-spin of Craig Buckham into the pavilion showed he has the confidence to accompany his ability. The effortless six he flicked off his legs off medium-pacer Phil Edwards betrayed a profound talent.
With the pitch easing and moments of fortune behind him, Trott's treatment of the bowlers became murderous. He took 20 off an Edwards over and with Moeen (90 balls, seven fours and two sixes) shared 21 off a single Buckham over. The pair added 184 at close to a run a ball.
Trott's bat appeared as broad as a barn door as he drove powerfully off front and back foot while his treatment of the short ball was derisive.
His century took only 85 balls.
In reply Cambridge UCCE's batsmen looked disturbingly comfortable. Tom Mees over-pitched in his search for swing and was duly punished while Nick Warren's probing spell was let down by a slight, but crucial, inability to keep to a consistent line. The bowlers conceded 19 boundaries in the 26 overs.
Paul Harrison, a 20-yearold in his second year at Loughborough UCCE, won first opportunity with the gloves before relinquishing them at tea to Stuart Eustace. Both are awaiting the outcome of Keith Piper's hearing on Thursday.
Naqaash Tahir made the breakthrough, nipping one away from the edge of Richard Timms' bat but generally bowled just a fraction short.
Zoheb Sharif, a 22-year-old on Essex's books, looked proficient, with tight technique and driving reminiscent of Saeed Anwar.
With Ian Bell on England duty for the foreseeable future and Mark Wagh out for another couple of weeks, what price a Championship debut for Moeen at Stratford on Wednesday?