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George Dobell at Edgbaston
May 28, 2014
Warwickshire 294 for 5 (Porterfield 118, Westwood 99) drew with Somerset 411 (Hildreth 98, Compton 92, Overton 56, Trescothick 53)
It took until mid-afternoon to confirm what had been obvious to most at the crack of dawn: there would be no play at Edgbaston on the final day of the Championship match between Warwickshire and Somerset.
But the desire - the desperation, even - to try to force into even a few minutes' play was understandable. In 2010, Somerset finished equal on points with Nottinghamshire at the top of the Championship table. Had past regulations still been in use, the title would have been shared. As it was, Nottinghamshire took it on the basis of having won more games. For a club like Somerset, who have never won a Championship, such an experience left a scar.
Both teams had an opportunity to earn another bonus point or two that could, come the end of the season, prove crucial. Warwickshire required six more runs for another batting bonus point and Somerset one wicket for another bowling point. With 17-and-a-half overs left of the period in which to gain bonus points - they are eligible in the first 110 overs of each side's first innings - the possibility remained that each team could even gain two more points.
It left Somerset's captain, Marcus Trescothick, frustrated but generally satisfied with the progress of his side. "Our team is completely different to last season," he said. "The way we've approached things and the performances we're putting in: there is no comparison. Last year our batsmen were rolled over and our bowlers were going for plenty.
"We've played good cricket. We're pretty solid. Three of our games have been on pitches like this, but we've had a couple of victories and we're pretty pleased."
Trescothick was not especially impressed by the slow pitch, though it had been under cover for several days due to the rain. "It's pretty soul destroying when you get on these wickets," he said. "It was pretty slow. There wasn't a great deal in it for the seamers. There wasn't a lot in it for anybody. It got slower and slower."
Warwickshire, meanwhile, hope that Tim Ambrose will have recovered from his calf strain in time for the T20 match against Lancashire on Saturday, while Jim Troughton is nearing a return after back surgery and will play second team cricket next week.
"We're stronger than we were last year," Varun Chopra, the stand-in captain, said. "The younger players have moved up a level and some of the senior players just keep getting better. Boyd Rankin bowled really well on a docile wicket, Rikki Clarke is in the best physical shape I've ever seen him and Tim Ambrose is playing well.
"I'm not surprised that Ireland have shown interest in Boyd. But I still believe he wants to play for England and I think he's good enough to do so."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
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Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough