A splendid 144 not out from Warwickshire’s Ian Westwood prevented Nottinghamshire from gaining the advantage on a rain-interrupted first day of their LV= County Championship match at Edgbaston.
Notts had enjoyed the early exchanges, reducing the hosts to 114-3 as the flow of runs dropped alarmingly during the course of the afternoon. A productive post-tea session lifted the Bears to 235-3 by the close.
With the home side challenging for the title, Nottinghamshire’s Paul Franks said he could see a likeness into the events of twelve months ago. “You could see a lot of how we felt this time last year in the way they played. They were tentative and the run-rate was pretty slow at times."
“They grafted hard for their runs, we worked hard, so I feel honours are just about even at the end of the first day.” Paul Franks
Franks said it wasn’t an ideal day for anyone. “The conditions didn’t help – it was a strong, strong wind which didn’t help the bowlers to find their rhythm. I don’t mind hot, I don’t mind cold but wind isn’t what you want when you are trying to swing the ball.
“They grafted hard for their runs, we worked hard, so I feel honours are just about even at the end of the first day.”
As anticipated, Notts retained the same starting eleven that had defeated Durham in their previous four-day fixture. Warwickshire brought back Boyd Rankin in place of Keith Barker.
Openers Varun Chopra and Ian Westwood settled quickly and each punished early width in adding 39 for the first wicket. Chopra (20), in particular, looked in very good touch and was visibly annoyed with himself when he lost his wicket tamely, in the tenth over, chipping Darren Pattinson straight into the hands of Karl Turner at midwicket.
A further setback for the home side was averted two balls later when umpire Steve O’Shaughnessy failed to give William Porterfield out. Pattinson, bowling full and from around the wicket, speared one into the pads of the Ireland skipper and looked aghast as his – and his team-mates – appeals went unrewarded.
Westwood continued to find the gaps and had made 37 out of a total of 67-1 when persistent drizzle forced the players from the field at ten minutes to twelve.
An early lunch was taken, enabling play to resume at 12.55pm but just three more runs were added before a further heavy shower again interrupted proceedings.
When they returned to the middle Westwood soon reached his half century (106 balls 8 x 4) – bringing up the fifty stand in the process – but then immediately lost his partner.
Luke Fletcher, returning from the City End, found the outside edge of Porterfield’s bat (15) and Steven Mullaney took a good catch, diving low to his left at second slip.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul arrived as the new batsman, defending a championship average of 90 from his three appearances for the Bears. Invoking memories of the final day of last season Andre Adams maintained early pressure against the West Indian but was unable to find an edge.
Instead it was nearly Westwood who perished on 54, as his snick off Fletcher didn’t quite carry to Alex Hales. With the four Notts seamers all bowling a tidy line and length run-scoring became almost non-existent as an hour of play brought only 19 runs from 16 overs.
Unable to break free of their shackles Warwickshire then suffered a crushing blow as Chanderpaul (8) paid for his lack of fluency by getting a thickish edge to a Pattinson delivery and skipper Read did his bit with the gloves.
The tea interval brought a welcome relief to a session which had produced 57 runs and 2 wickets from the 34 overs bowled.
A couple of early boundaries from Westwood kick-started the scoreboard into life upon the resumption but the overall run-rate rarely threatened 2.5 per over during the first two thirds of the day.
Graeme White was introduced into the attack for the first time in the 63rd over of the innings and conceded a single to take the total on to 150. The fifty stand then followed, between the opener and Jim Troughton – Warwickshire’s fourth left-hander in the top five – arriving from 98 deliveries.
Westwood reached his tenth career first class ton when he ran Andre Adams down to the unprotected third man boundary in the 66th over (205 balls 16 x 4).
In the run down to the taking of the second new ball both batsmen then increased the tempo considerably, bringing up their century stand in the process.
They had put on 121, with Westwood on 144 and Troughton 33, when more menacing dark clouds hovered over Edgbaston and the umpires took the players off for one final time, with a dozen overs remaining unbowled.