Positive Nottinghamshire refocus after t20 loss
Warwickshire 13 for 0 v Nottinghamshire 328
Nottinghamshire were still smarting from the perceived injustice of their defeat against Somerset - stoutly supported by Duckworth and Lewis - that denied them a place in the Friends Provident t20 final at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. The bad news, for Somerset and Yorkshire, is that they intend to pursue their number one goal, namely winning the County Championship, with renewed vigour.
Two points clear and with three home matches among the five they have left, they are well placed to fulfil that ambition and will back themselves to use home advantage to the full. Nottinghamshire prepared good cricket wickets for their first four Trent Bridge fixtures in April and May and won three of them. They will look for a pay-off from taking the same approach now.
With that in mind they chose to bat first when Chris Read won the toss here, in spite of what looked like a good track to bowl on. It soon became clear that they would force the pace, risk losing wickets and take every scoring opportunity that came their way. In the circumstances, 328 all out from 87.5 overs looked like a decent return.
There was always something in the pitch for the bowlers but, with proven batting at least down to No. 8, Nottinghamshire knew they could rattle along at four an over for much of the innings and while a Warwickshire attack lacking the injured Neil Carter performed for the most part acceptably Nottinghamshire numbered few clear failures.
Ali Brown, the veteran destroyer who at 40 continues to defy the years, emerged in the event as the home side's steadying influence, holding things together somewhat with 76 off 138 balls, although he did not waste many opportunities. Coming in at 146 for 4, he supervised the addition of a further 176 runs before he flicked a ball from Boyd Rankin to Varun Chopra on the leg side boundary, sharing a notable partnership of 83 with Chris Read for the sixth wicket and a valuable 30 with a determined Ryan Sidebottom for the ninth.
Earlier, Mark Wagh had continued the theme of a series of enjoyable reunions with his former county by stroking 54 off 109 balls, with eight fours. The stylish right-hander, who will be missed when he retires from cricket to become a commercial lawyer next year, has had five first-class innings against Warwickshire since his move to Trent Bridge in 2007, scoring 378 runs, including two centuries.
Nottinghamshire's batting would be stronger still if they could find the right combination at the top, although perhaps, given the nature of the pitches, it is hardly surprising that none of the partnerships tried has lasted long.
Alex Hales and Matt Wood are the fifth pairing used this season, Hales having previously opened with Bilal Shafayat, Samit Patel and Neil Edwards, who has also been teamed with Shafayat. No partnership has managed more than 43 and that record was not improved here as Hales, looking to force off the back foot, nicked a catch to Tim Ambrose for 9.
Wood was also caught behind, following a ball from the impressive Chris Woakes to perish for 15, but by then Wagh was beginning to find some rhythm and he and Patel added 60 for the third wicket in 82 balls.
Patel, right on message from the outset and looking to score at every opportunity, picked up his first 28 runs in boundaries. In the conditions, batting was not straightforward, however, and when Warwickshire introduced Darren Maddy's skiddy medium pace as the fifth bowler used there was an immediate divided as Patel edged to second slip. David Hussey's innings followed a similar pattern, the Australian briskly picking up half a dozen fours before chopping on to Woakes.
Read, far and away Nottinghamshire's most reliable batsman, maintained the momentum with 45 off 52 balls, including two sixes - one streaky, off a top-edged hook, the other less so - off Boyd Rankin, before Maddy bowled him with a ball that probably bounced less than he anticipated.
Warwickshire will feel they should have done better. They put down four catches, Wood escaping on 6 when he edged Woakes to Rikki Clarke at second slip and Hussey on nought with Clarke again the perpetrator and Maddy the unlucky bowler.
Read had a let-off on 11 when Maddy, who seemed to misread the ball's trajectory, made a gallant but unsuccessful one-handed attempt at mid-on off Imran Tahir. Maddy also put down a much simpler chance at slip off Clarke when Andre Adams was on 1, although the Nottinghamshire No. 9 added only five more runs.
Warwickshire negotiated six overs without loss at the close with one scare, Ian Westwood getting a leading edge to Sidebottom's fifth ball and watching with relief as Paul Franks, diving forward at short mid-on, failed to scoop the ball off the deck.