Warwickshire 311 for 7 (Sibley 87, Hose 84*) v Nottinghamshire
Plan B for Bouncer sounds like it might be the title of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, but there was not a lot of mystery or intrigue about the storyline as conjured by Stuart Broad on a day heavily punctuated by bad light and heavy rain. As the hardiest spectators filed out, puddles were still swelling on the outfield.
Warwickshire had added 48 runs to their overnight 181, for the loss of Dominic Sibley, when Broad began the 109th and by far the most eventful over of the contest. Nottinghamshire had scarcely used the short ball up to that point and, if nothing else, the change of tactic would challenge the home side to score the quick runs they needed for a second batting point.
Three fielders took their place on the leg-side boundary primed for the misplaced hook. Another crouched at a deepish short leg. On the offside the straightest man was located at cover. Broad was about to spring either the most audacious double-bluff in cricketing memory or the worst-disguised trap since Douglas Jardine clapped his hands and shouted: "Let him have it, Harold."
Adam Hose, nicely set, ducked the first ball and defended the second. The third struck a glancing blow on the helmet which left him briefly on his backside. Springing up quickly, he jogged through for a leg bye before being cleared by the physio to continue. Liam Banks evaded a bouncer in relative comfort and umpire Martin Saggers stepped in to warn Broad for running on the pitch.
This would have done nothing for Broad's disposition, and when Banks swayed inside the line of ball five, Saggers signalled that the bouncer allocation for the over was up. Think of all this as background, the build-up of suspense. Now came the big event.
The designated last ball was an absolute snorter. The most hostile of the over, of the day, perhaps of the game so far. Short, yes, but how short? That was the difficult question for Saggers. It certainly seemed too quick for Banks who could not get out of the way and appeared to glove through to wicketkeeper Tom Moores tumbling to his right. But as Broad began to celebrate, Saggers signalled no ball.
The umpire felt that it went through above shoulder height. Broad in turn pointed out that it had taken the glove and must therefore be deemed a legitimate wicket. He opened his arms, palms upwards beseeching justice before a theatrical gesture of ball brushing glove. At one point, astounded, he seemed to appeal to the batsman himself, while captain Steven Mullaney joined the conversation as though seconding the proposal of his team-mate.
Saggers remained unmoved, and to add to the sense of theatre Banks stroked the eventual seventh ball, the fullest of the over, to the off side boundary. Cheers roared from the stands; Broad must have felt he was in Brisbane rather than Birmingham. He re-opened conversation with Saggers while taking his sunhat and Mullaney came in for a second time, this time to usher away his team-mate before things became even more fractious.
Perhaps they did go too far. While Saggers may not literally Dial L for Lord's, his match report might well conclude that Broad's behaviour represented dissent. Alternatively, he could look at the replays and agree that he was wrong. Peter Moores, the Nottinghamshire head coach, believes so. "I think it [the decision] was probably a mistake," Moores said. "It happens, and you move on. Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don't."
Sequel: Next over, Banks attempted to sweep the off-spin of Matt Carter and was adjudged leg-before by Tim Robinson. Justice was probably done, albeit with no personal advance to Broad's haul of wickets. Warwickshire didn't get their extra point. And Broad didn't bowl again. People did, indeed, move on.
After the slow pace of Monday, Warwickshire showed more urgency in the 37 overs possible. Sibley added only six more runs to his overnight 81 before opening the face, slightly, to a ball from Luke Fletcher of perfect length, but Hose, with 101 runs in eight Championship innings hitherto, played soundly in defence, batting out of his crease to combat swing, while capitalising on opportunities.
Forcing sixes off both spinners, Carter and Samit Patel, he played efficiently either side of the wicket and will resume on 84. Overall, though, the bowlers offered very few freebies and Mullaney's disciplined swing earned wickets before the worst of the weather hit. Tim Ambrose shouldered arms before Henry Brookes fell lbw.
Jeetan Patel gave a brief insight into the way Warwickshire may try to move forward from here when he forced his second ball from Samit Patel over the ropes. As Peter Moores said, Nottinghamshire must hope that time taken from the game delays any deterioration of the surface until they have at least batted once themselves.