Warwickshire win secures top spot for final week
Warwickshire 574 for 7 dec beat Nottinghamshire 238 and 222 by an innings and 114 runs
Warwickshire moved to the top of the County Championship and into pole position to win the competition for the first time since 2004 with a crushing innings and 114-run win over Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston.
Warwickshire needed only 80 minutes to take Nottinghamshire's last four wickets and romp to their ninth win of the season this morning, with seamer Chris Wright taking his second five-wicket haul in three matches since he joined on loan from Essex. Wright, who is in negotiations with Warwickshire about a contract for next season, has now taken 19 wickets since he arrived at Edgbaston.
Only Alex Hales, who carried his bat for 106 out of Nottinghamshire's 222, offered prolonged resistance but Warwickshire still climbed above previous leaders Durham, who sat out the penultimate round of matches. It represents a remarkable turnaround for Warwickshire who were battling relegation 12 months ago while Nottinghamshire were on their way to the title.
But the roles were reversed here with Warwickshire completing only the fifth double over Nottinghamshire in their history following a nine-wicket success at Trent Bridge in May.
The biggest threat to Warwickshire's victory hopes was posed by the weather. There was light rain around when the players arrived at the ground and further showers were forcecast for midday.
But the rain cleared in time to allow play to start on time and Warwickshire made an early breakthrough when Paul Franks thick edged Rikki Clarke's sixth ball of the day to Chris Metters at third slip. Andre Adams came out with the intention of attacking and he managed to pull Wright for one four.
But the former New Zealand all-rounder was bowled next bowl when he tried to repeat the stroke against Wright and succeeded only in bottom-edging into his stumps. Hales, the only Nottinghamshire batsman to play with any composure in the second innings, survived a confident lbw appeal from Clarke and then drove the same bowler through the covers for his first boundary of the morning.
Darren Pattinson never looked comfortable, even though he twice flayed Clarke through mid off for boundaries, and he was eventually undone by a yorker from Wright which he failed to dig out. Hales turned down easy singles in his last-wicket partnership with Luke Fletcher to ensure that he farmed the strike and completed his third century of the season.
He got there by off driving Wright for his 12th four from 169 balls after which Fletcher went for his shots, including a huge pulled six off Boyd Rankin. Warwickshire turned to Chris Metters to wrap up their first innings win over Nottinghamshire since 1966, and the slow left-armer struck with his fourth ball of the match when Fletcher drove a long hop to cover.