Read rides to Nottinghamshire's rescue
Warwickshire 24 for 0 (Westwood 7*, Botha 16*) trail Nottinghamshire 388 (Read 110, Voges 68, Tahir 4-89)
Chris Read may be yesterday's man in the eyes of the England selectors but he continues to offer proof that as a wicketkeeping all-rounder in the Championship he has no peers.
The Nottinghamshire captain, bedevilled by question marks over his technique since his notorious dismissal, on his second Test appearance in 1999, to a Chris Cairns slower ball, notched his third century of the season as his side made a mockery of Ian Westwood's decision to field by piling up 388 runs in the sunshine.
Read, who has made a speciality of digging Nottinghamshire out of holes of their top order's making this season, did so again after they had threatened to waste one recovery. Coming in at 141 for 5, Read crashed his first ball for four and added 16 more boundaries before departing for 110, at which point the home side were comfortably in command at 366 for 8.
He gave one chance, put down by Jonathan Trott at slip on 83, but otherwise was rarely troubled, driving, cutting and pulling to telling effect.
Nottinghamshire's batsmen had revealed their positive intentions from the beginning, seldom resisting an opportunity to score, but when Naqaash Tahir ended his seventh over with three wickets for 30 it appeared that Westwood's hunch, that this was a day for fielding first, had been an inspired one.
Tahir, who bowled his side to victory with 5 for 67 in the second innings at New Road a couple of weeks ago, had made a quick breakthrough with a successful appeal for leg before against Scott Newman, Nottinghamshire's on-loan opener, in his second over.
Matthew Wood, who had been told he was dropped - despite his 86 at Horsham last week - before Graeme Swann cried off sick with a stomach bug, looked of a mind to make a point but after quickly picking up three boundaries he drove firmly in search of another only to edge the ball to Westwood in the gully.
Sreesanth, the India pace bowler making his Championship debut for Warwickshire, entered the attack at first change for Boyd Rankin at the Radcliffe Road end but it was Tahir, now into a good rhythm, who struck again to leave Nottinghamshire in trouble at 43 for 3 when he nipped one back to beat Mark Wagh's defensive push.
Yet the home side refused to compromise their positive approach despite these setbacks and fought back so strongly that by lunch they were 136 without further loss, the earlier cloud cover beginning to disperse as Adam Voges led the recovery with a half-century off 60 deliveries.
Voges, the 29-year-old Western Australian, named in his country's squad for the Twenty20 matches against England, struck his first century for Nottinghamshire in the drawn match with Sussex and had clearly brought his form forward, twice pulling Rankin for six and racking up 10 fours as he and Samit Patel added 98 at almost six and over.
That momentum could have been lost as Sreesanth, expensive but always liable to produce a deadly delivery, struck twice in the space of four balls soon after lunch, Voges edging a drive to Ian Bell at backward point before Ali Brown, unable to do much against a ball that lifted and moved away outside off stump, was taken at second slip.
But Read, averaging 65.88 in first-class games going into this match, dismissed that possibility by cutting the next ball, his first, to the boundary and far from stifling their progress, the double breakthrough signalled another surge in the run-rate as Warwickshire's seam bowlers consistently offered too many easy opportunities.
Patel, showing signs at last of a recovery in form after being cast out by England over his fitness, took the lead from his captain and the pair plundered 50 runs between them in just six overs. Read, overtaking Patel, reached his personal half-century in 45 balls with his 10th four, but Patel fell on 47, surprised by a quicker ball to be leg before to Rikki Clarke. The sixth-wicket pair had put on 83 in 14 overs.
At last, with Ant Botha's left-arm spin offering a change of pace, Nottinghamshire's progress was tempered a little, although with the wily Mark Ealham joining Read in the afternoon sun, and the pitch allowing the bowlers scant margin for error, there was no shift in the balance of the match. It was difficult to imagine that Read would not have opted to bat first had he won the toss.
He had an escape, though, on 83 when 20-year-old Chris Woakes, the most controlled of the quicker Warwickshire bowlers, found the edge only for Trott, looking to get the nod for the final Test, to do himself no favours by spilling a relatively straightforward chance at first slip.
Ealham departed as Sreesanth returned for his third stint, dismissed with a catch at second slip in much the same way as Brown. It heralded a testing spell from the Indian, but Read survived to complete his third century of the season by driving Woakes to the mid-wicket boundary for his 16th boundary of his 132nd ball faced.
Read ultimately lost his middle stump to Tahir, who finished with four for 89, but not before an eighth-wicket stand with Andre Adams had added 58 to the 84 put on with Ealham for the seventh as Nottinghamshire built towards a final total of 388 from 84.1 overs.
Westwood and Botha, opening in place of Tony Frost, who was left out of the side, then negotiated nine overs without alarm.