Captain Jim Troughton reflected on a “very satisfying” start after Warwickshire opened the 2013 season with a thumping win over MCC – and made a little bit of history in the process.
Until this week, the Bears’ record in this fixture was dire, three games having brought defeats – by an innings and 365 runs, 133 runs and seven wickets.
But, amid the deserted stands of the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, they ended that sorry sequence by outplaying MCC for victory by an innings and by 129 runs.
Rattled out for 130 in their first innings, MCC were bowled out for 402 in their second.
A century from Kent’s Joe Denly offered some resistance but the Bears’ seamers proved too strong again.
Chris Wright took another three wickets (eight in the match), Rikki Clarke four for 33 to be Bears’ best second innings bowler, and Oliver Hannon-Dalby another two wickets to complete his solid first-class debut.
The batsmen having also showed excellent form, Troughton was delighted with his seamers’ work, especially after they had to take up slack left by injured spinners Paul Best and Ateeq Javid whose contributions were curtailed by back and hip injuries respectively.
“We overcame the loss of both our spinners and did it the hard way with the seamers having to bowl in back-to-back innings,” the skipper said.
“But they did really well.
“Chris and Rikki were well-managed with the Lions in Australia.
“They only played one-day cricket out there and then we didn’t overwork them in Barbados so they were really keen to have a bowl.
“And it showed. Chris’s spell in the first innings was top-class.
“He is the sort of bowler who, when he sees an opportunity, really goes for it.
“All in all it was a very satisfying start.
“We all know it was a good wicket and very different conditions to what we will face in England but we won by playing our way and by playing excellent four-day cricket.
“It was really valuable outdoor practice, as it was for us in the preceding two weeks in Barbados.”
MCC resumed the last day on 308 for four, still needing 123 to avoid an innings defeat but with Denly and Peter Trego potentially dangerous.
They extended their stand to 121 of which Trego’s share was a muscular 87 (76 balls, ten fours, two sixes) before he edged Hannon-Dalby first slip.
When Ned Eckersley edged his third ball, from Wright, to second slip, MCC were still 80 adrift with four wickets in hand.
James Middlebrook then soon edged Clarke.
Still Denly defied until, on 146 ((243 balls, 17 fours), he inside-edged Clarke on to his middle-stump.
Steve Kirby fell second-ball to Wright and when Simon Kerrigan miscued a slog at Wright, Tom Milnes accepted the skier and the Bears could head for the airport and the wintry English Midlands with a jumbo victory in their luggage.
Meanwhile, Bears paceman Wright has pledged not to deviate from the routines and rhythms which have served him so well over the last 18 months after starting the season in explosive fashion against the MCC.
Wright joined up with the Bears in Abu Dhabi fresh from time spent in Australia with England Lions.
While helping to power Warwickshire to the championship title with 62 wickets last season, the fast-bowler impressed plenty of good judges – and the national selectors.
He has started the 2013 season the way he means to go on.
But while the attention from others to his bowling has escalated, Wright insists he will strive to simply keep doing the same thing which, under the counsel of Bears bowling coach Graeme Welch, have propelled him, in less than two years, from Essex 2nd XI to realistic England material.
“I have had a look at how batsmen might perceive me,” he said. “You definitely have to be aware of how you’re perceived but then not deviate too much from what you do well.
“I didn’t do anything very different against MCC. I bowled good bouncers followed by good-length balls which is a good staple.
“It was good fun to go through the gears a little bit.”