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George Dobell at Edgbaston
July 22, 2010
Nottinghamshire 389 and 25 for 0 beat Warwickshire 313 and 100 by 10 wickets
There was some irony in the timing of a reunion of three of Warwickshire's treble-winners. For even as Andy Moles, Paul Smith and Gladstone Small were reminiscing over the glory days of 1994, they were witnessing the current vintage of Warwickshire batsmen sink to an embarrassing new nadir.
Bowled out in under two hours, Warwickshire slipped to their eighth loss of the Championship campaign in just their 11th game. They have not lost so many times in a season since 1998, the year that Brian Lara was captain. Their total - just 100 - was also their equal lowest of the century and meant they had been dismissed for under 200 in at least one innings in six of their last seven championship games.
A glance at the scorecard might convince you that Stuart Broad produced an unplayable spell of fast bowling, but it is not really so. Broad bowled well, certainly, to claim a career-best return of 8 for 52 and record the best figures in the top division of the Championship so far this season. But he will bowl equally well and finish wicketless.
The consensus in the Edgbaston press box was that Ryan Sidebottom, who finished empty handed, actually bowled better. As Ashley Giles, England selector and Warwickshire director of coaching, put it: "Broad bowled well, but it wasn't a fantastic piece of bowling. It was challenging but nothing more."
The truth is that Warwickshire simply lacked the stomach for the fight. Broad's pace, which is a good deal sharper than most on the county circuit, a little late swing and his demanding line and length, exposed a batting line-up that is low on confidence and, more worryingly, backbone.
"It was good, impressive quick bowling," Notts' coach Mick Newell said. "He wants to play for Nottinghamshire. Some of the centrally-contracted players don't want to play for their counties, but I think we're quite lucky that we've got three who desperately want to play. This lot [Warwickshire] are playing poorly at the moment and with an international bowling attack we knew we had a big chance just as soon as we got that lead."
"There were a few nice balls in there, but there were a few soft dismissals as well," Broad admitted. "I really wanted to concentrate on making the batsman play every single ball and that's created a little doubt in them because they didn't feel comfortable leaving. Swanny [Graeme Swann] said from second slip that it was the most he'd seen me swing the ball for a couple of years. It did feel like my wrist was in a good position and I was getting a little extra zip and bounce.
"It was a good workout before the Test [series against Pakistan, starting at Trent Bridge next Thursday]. I got 20 overs in during the first innings and that hit me quite hard, not having done a full 90 overs in the field since April. But I came back and bowled a 14 over spell today which has given me a good basis knowing I can go into a Test match with overs in my legs."
At one stage it appeared Broad was on course to take all ten wickets. By the time Warwickshire were 33 for 7 he had them all, so could be forgiven for some disappointment when Neil Carter carved Andre Adams directly to the man on the cover boundary.
Carter's shot - an odd one when his team still required two to make Notts bat again - speaks volumes for Warwickshire's approach. Where as Mark Wagh, in the defining performance of this match, had shown application, patience and technique, Warwickshire thrashed and lunged like drowning men.
Westwood and Trott were both drawn into drives outside off stump and edged to gully, Botha mist-timed a flick and spooned a catch to mid-on before, Troughton, who never looks comfortable against pace, was softened up by two short balls and lost his middle stump as he played across a full one angled in from around the stumps. When Clarke fell next delivery, trapped in front by a straight one, Broad had taken 5 for 14 in 26 balls. Maddy, averaging just 16 this season, and Woakes soon followed, edging ambitious drives.
The tail showed a little more fight. Carter, top-scoring for the second time in the game and becoming Warwickshire's top-run scorer of the season despite batting at number nine, dented Broad's figures with a brief rally, but when Ambrose cut to gully and Rankin engineered his second run out of the match, Notts required just 25 to win. It took them just 18 deliveries. By the end, it was like watching a rabbit fight a tiger.
The win maintains Nottinghamshire's Championship challenge. Though the 23 points hasn't quite taken them back above Yorkshire, they have two games in hand. They're likely to see little more of Broad or Swann, but their remarkable strength in depth will ensure they remain tough to beat.
So, where do Warwickshire, who have taken just 29 points from their last seven games, go from here? To the second division, probably. And, without serious investment, it's there they will stay. This current batting unit - sans Trott and Bell - has been tried and found wanting. Recruitment is required.
That will not be easy, however. Warwickshire have invested heavily in their ground redevelopment and have nothing extra for new players. Some of the existing ones may have to make way before room can be found for new faces.
Giles, for the first time heckled by supporters calling for his resignation, was visibly shaken afterwards. He remained admirably candid, however, and retains the support of the club management. "That wasn't good enough," he admitted. "It was embarrassing. We rolled over and, what makes it more disappointing is, it's not the first time. It's not acceptable and we - and I include myself - can't hide behind any excuses. I'm hurt by what I've seen.
"We need to show more strength of character. We roll over too much. It seems we shy away from the tough challenges. There's no-one in the seconds knocking on the door, so we need to invest in the future of this side. If we don't have guys here who can fill the hole left by Trott and Bell, we need to fill those holes. It's clear now that we need to strengthen this squad."
Indeed it is. At least one season of rebuilding in the second division looms.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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