Warwickshire 383-7 v Hampshire
On the day that circumstances shunted Ian Bell back into the England team, Jonathan Trott delivered further evidence that he will at some point follow his county colleague into Test cricket.
Nominated, earlier this week, as “next in line” by England team director Andy Flower, Bell will tread his beloved Edgbaston turf on Ashes duty next week after Kevin Pietersen underwent surgery on his troublesome Achilles.
Yesterday wasn’t Bell’s day with the bat. He edged a snorter at the Rose Bowl, having scored only seven. But Trott batted superbly to survive a torrid first session and then heave Warwickshire’s innings round from a parlous 90 for five to the commanding heights of 383 for seven.
Trott closed last night unbeaten on 140 (240 balls, 17 fours), his previous two championship first-innings scores having brought 166 and 79. This on the back of a richly-productive Twenty20 campaign in which he was the country’s top scorer.
He also takes catches in his trouser pockets, you know. In England terms, Trott is not quite “next in line” – but certainly in the line.
Not for the first time this season, the Bears desperately needed his tenacity yesterday as the match took flight after a rainswept first day permitted only 13.4 overs.
Warwickshire had negotiated those with few problems but encountered problems aplenty on the second morning. Hampshire’s seamers exploited a damp pitch and five wickets fell for 60 runs in 17 overs. Left-armer James Tomlinson started the collapse with a burst of three for seven in 28 balls but owed much to Chris Tremlett whose sustained hostility kept the batsmen at full stretch and vulnerable to lowering their guard at the other end.
The overnight batsmen perished within five overs. Tony Frost, reaching outside off stump, edged behind and Ian Westwood chopped to backward point. If Bell is lost to England duty from now on the Bears will need much more from the openers than they have offered so far.
Bell got a corker from Tomlinson which jagged away to find the edge. Jim Troughton hit three fours then nicked Sean Ervine. When Tim Ambrose gave wicketkeeper Tom Burrows his fourth victim, Warwickshire were 90 for five and in deep trouble. But Trott was entrenched and found admirable support throughout the next two sessions. Rikki Clarke and Ant Botha dug in to help add 66 in 19 overs and 106 in 28 respectively. Both were unlucky to depart.
Clarke (46, 73 balls, eight fours) was adjudged lbw to one heading down leg side. Botha (40, 83 balls, five fours) was left aghast having been stumped by a ricochet off the wicketkeeper’s pads. That happened to Troughton recently – a bizarre, once-in-a-decade dismissal has afflicted Warwickshire twice in two weeks.
After tea, Chris Woakes seized the opportunity to show what a fine batsman he can be. Yet to fail with the bat in the championship this season, with scores of 8no, 30, 33, 24, 49no and 37no, he stroked his way to a maiden championship half-century and ended the day unbeaten on 77 (136 balls, six fours, one six).
Trott was also still there, due partly to slipshod fielding (he was dropped on 41, 98 and 109) but mostly to impressive patience, shot-selection and technique as the ball continued to move around all day, if less ferociously than in the first hour. Armed with a tall total in awkward conditions, Warwickshire could push hard for victory if the rain stays away.
n?The opening day of Warwickshire’s Second XI Championship match against Glamorgan at Swansea was washed out entirely.