Nottinghamshire worked hard to keep themselves in the title race as Warwickshire posted 298-5 on the first day of the crucial LV= County Championship match at Edgbaston.
Going into the contest in third place, 27 points behind this week’s hosts, Notts pegged away on a good batting surface and had Paul Franks 3-52 and Luke Fletcher 2-49 to thank for the wickets they took.
Batting first, after skipper Jim Troughton had won the toss, the top six batsmen all reached double-figures, with Ian Westwood top-scoring on 81 and Tim Ambrose was unbeaten on 64 at stumps.
Notts were depleted by the loss of Ben Phillips before the game, as Mick Newell explained. “Ben was poorly on Monday and drove over here this morning but clearly wasn’t fit to play. We felt that Harry Gurney hadn’t bowled enough to be considered either.”
The scheduled start time had been put back to midday after Warwickshire had played a CB40 match in Scarborough a day earlier.
Aside from a huge lbw appeal against Ian Westwood in Luke Fletcher’s opening over, very little seemed to be happening for the bowlers for the first 45 minutes of play.
Both batsmen eased into their work, with Westwood, in particular, looking comfortable as he stroked three early boundaries.
The introduction of Andre Adams into the attack swung the momentum slightly. His second delivery flew off the edge of Westwood’s bat and narrowly past the diving Voges on its way down to third man.
Fletcher made the initial breakthrough in the next over, although the dismissal was far from conventional. Varun Chopra (11) had a waft a widish delivery and edged it uppishly. Both Voges and Wessels, at second and third slip, seemed to lay a hand on the ball but it then ballooned gently up for Alex Hales at first to complete the catch.
William Porterfield joined Westwood and punched Adams away for fours straight and through the offside.
Sam Wood, fresh from England U19 duty in Australia, briefly came on as a sub fielder for Notts and had a long chase through the wet, squelchy part of the outfield as the Irish international plundered another boundary.
The pair had added 52 for the second wicket when Paul Franks, bowling from the Birmingham End, fired one through the defences of Porterfield (26) to knock back his middle stump.
Troughton, the third left-hander in the Bears’ top four, joined Westwood as the home side reached lunch on 99-2.
Notts appeared to miss two opportunities to add to their wicket-tally during the opening hour of the second session, with Westwood reprieved both times. On 48, Hales, diving forward at slip, couldn’t hold him off Fletcher and then Voges, leaping high, spilled him on 62 off Adams.
The third wicket stand had been worth 83 when Franks struck again, clipping the edge of Troughton’s (40) bat on its way through to Read.
The visitors needed the encouragement of that breakthrough and were immediately boosted by another wicket as Franks celebrated the capture of Westwood, out lbw for 81.
Tim Ambrose, fresh from an unbeaten 87 just 24 hours earlier, looked to be carrying on in the same mode as he punched Graeme White away for a series of fours. Rikki Clarke also gave a show of intent as he heaved the left-arm spinner over the ropes at long on.
Ambrose and Clarke added 102 for the fifth wicket before the 17th delivery of the new ball saw Fletcher nick the outside edge of Clarke’s (47) bat.
Chris Wright came out as nightwatchman and helped Ambrose through to stumps.