Nottinghamshire slipped to their third defeat of the LV= county championship season when they were bowled out for 210 on the final day of their match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Alex Hales top-scored with 58 for the visitors but four wickets for Jeetan Patel, giving him eight in the match, brought the defending champions victory by a margin of 217 runs.
Much of the damage had been done on the previous day, according to Mick Newell.
"The period on the third afternoon where we lost seven wickets for forty runs was a disastrous period of play.” Mick Newell
“To some extent,” said the director of cricket. “Although I felt that Warwickshire gave us a chance by not enforcing the follow-on but we failed to take the second opportunity to bat well and save the game.
“Certainly the period on the third afternoon where we lost seven wickets for forty runs was a disastrous period of play.”
Hales had shown a welcome return to form, sharing a fourth wicket partnership of 70 with Samit Patel but once they both departed the lower order struggled in the conditions.
“It was quite difficult for batsmen to come in on that wicket,” said Newell. “It was turning and Jeetan Patel was bowling well so new batsmen were always going to be struggling a little bit. The Hales-Patel partnership was a good one but it wasn’t quite long enough.”
Hales’ score was his highest in the championship this season – and earned praise from Newell.
“He played well, he’s a proper opening batsman and needs to play like that for the rest of the season. In this particular case where you are trying to bat 96 overs out you’ve got to be reasonably restrained and I thought he played nicely and still showed some attacking intent at times as well.”
Having made 38 together on the third evening, Steven Mullaney and Alex Hales began the morning session with Notts requiring a further 389 for victory.
Just a couple of runs had been added to the total before Warwickshire struck their first blow, with Chris Woakes knocking Mullaney’s (27) off stump back.
Determined not to suffer any further setbacks, Hales – and new partner Michael Lumb – defended stoically for the remainder of a first hour that saw only 10 runs scored in fifteen overs.
The shackles were broken by Lumb (18) sweeping Jeetan Patel for six but he was then taken by ‘keeper Tim Ambrose, standing up to Keith Barker.
Hales, who scored the only four of a session that produced just forty runs, reached lunch on 27 not out.
James Taylor (2) fell to Boyd Rankin, umpire Richard Illingworth adjudicating in the bowlers favour.
Samit Patel provided some impetus to the run-rate. His initial single turned into a three after a sloppy return provided a couple of overthrows. He then clipped two fours and hit Jeetan Patel for six.
Hales responded by also lifting the off spinner over the ropes for a maximum and shortly afterwards brought up his second fifty of the summer (161 balls, 4x4, 1x6).
Into the second half of the afternoon session it looked as if the draw was within reach but the stand of 70 was then dramatically broken as Notts lost three wickets for just one run.
Hales (58) used his feet to Jeetan Patel but the ball appeared to get big on him and popped up to William Porterfield at silly mid on.
Porterfield took another catch in the next over, off Clarke but batsman Samit Patel (36) had to be sent on his way by the umpire after seeming to feel the ball had been squeezed into the ground before carrying to the fielder.
Chris Read (1) was the third to go in the space of 23 deliveries as the turn of Jeetan Patel produced another lbw decision.
The final session began with David Hussey and Ajmal Shahzad together but one ball later Notts were seven wickets down as Shahzad (5) became Jeetan Patel’s fourth victim.
Varun Chopra took the second new ball and brought a swift conclusion as Hussey (33) fell to Woakes and Fletcher (1) nicked Rankin to slip.
Notts now slip to sixth place in the Division One table and face a trip to Taunton to meet seventh-placed Somerset in a fortnight’s time. Mick Newell said it was still too early to be making predictions about what might happen in the weeks to come.
“It’s not even August yet,” he said. “I always say you don’t make any claims as to where you might be heading until August and at the moment we’ve got six games to go and there are games to win – we’ve got a cushion at the moment over Somerset and Surrey but we’ve got to keep looking above us and see if we can catch some of those sides up.”