Nottinghamshire 97 (Patel 6-16) and 354 for 8 (Duckett 140, Nash 85, Patel 4-72) drew with Warwickshire 391 for 9 dec (Hose 111, Sibley 87)
Warwickshire bade a temporary farewell to their Headquarters after play, with the ICC ready to move in and begin its rebranding of Edgbaston as a World Cup venue. Higher profile games await, contested by more familiar names with greater hype and richer reward. But don't assume that any of the internationals will be as tense or passionately-contested as stages of this Championship fixture.
Hands were shaken at five to six when Warwickshire accepted that time had run out on their push for success. By that stage, Nottinghamshire had opened a lead of 60 runs with two wickets in hand and only five overs remaining. Enough batsmen played with a resolution altogether missing in their first innings. While Jeetan Patel continued to wheel away and wickets fell in clusters, Wednesday's wholesale collapse was not to be repeated.
Nor was the worst of the behaviour. Steven Mullaney, the Nottinghamshire captain, confirmed that his side had received a Level One warning for their conduct and it would be surprising if individual sanctions did not follow against at least one player. "I think the game was played hard, very hard and there were a couple of incidents that would have been borderline," he admitted.
Both Mullaney and Jim Troughton, the Warwickshire first team coach, could not suppress wry smiles when asked whether proceedings had been more feisty than usual. "It was an enjoyable game," Troughton said. "There were some emotions, some frustrations flying around. Bowlers are grumpy old things and I don't think that should be taken away."
A heavy morning shower lopped five overs off the quota to make the task slightly easier for Nottinghamshire. Their second-wicket pair of Ben Duckett and Chris Nash eased back into the groove with cheap early runs and it was not until the 75th over, by which time they had added 199, that Warwickshire broke through. Four wickets then fell for 16 runs, but Mullaney and Tom Moores rebuilt before themselves falling in successive overs. New batsmen tended to fall through early-innings footwork; once set they could hold firm.
Duckett proved a great example. His travails as an England player against R Ashwin seemed a distant memory as he thwarted Patel, getting behind the ball rather than pushing without a second line of defence. Across his career he has tended to clear up mess rather than avoid it altogether and his 140 from 237 balls in just shy of five hours did most to undo the damage first time around.
England still have him on the radar; he made his T20 international debut only last month. Here, the man sometimes known as the Pocket Rocket was just as much the Pocket Block-It, mixing the trademark cuts that come relatively easily to players of his short build with patience and discretion. At the other end, Nash (85) was steadiness personified and gave an object lesson in playing pace late and with light hands.
It took a brilliant, left-handed catch at short leg by Sam Hain to remove Duckett, giving Patel his second wicket of the innings. Number three soon followed, Will Rhodes reacting quickly at slip to account for Joe Clarke. Hain then took his fifth catch of the match with the second new ball in play to complete a miserable comeback for Samit Patel, whose place in the Nottinghamshire side must again be up for discussion.
Much rested now on Nash, but he inexplicably missed one from Henry Brookes to become a clear leg-before victim. Although Patel returned to the attack with the ball only eight overs old, the surface did not offer the bounce or pace of turn that he wanted. Even so, the wicket of Mullaney represented his 22nd in the past two games. Figures of 10 for 88 usually belong to a winner. Not this time.
Both sides ultimately left with reason for hope. "It was an incredible effort from us, from one through to eleven," Troughton said. "They showed the brand of cricket they should pride themselves on for the rest of the season." Ryan Sidebottom is due to return to second team action next week and Olly Stone should be fit by the end of the month. But Ian Bell is making a slower recovery than expected from foot surgery and is due to see a specialist on Friday.
Mullaney bristled at a suggestion that Nottinghamshire had lacked bravery in the first innings. Instead, he thought, the loss of early wickets to bad strokes had simply opened a door for the home side. "We have not batted well enough since the first game of the season against Yorkshire, we know that, but hopefully [our second innings] will turn things around," he said. It needs to; they remain bottom of the table.
The crowd was small but constant through the day, determined to savour every minute in the knowledge that their side will not return until July 21 and then under the T20 moniker of Birmingham Bears. Three solitary figures sat as far apart as seemed possible in the Eric Hollies stand, as though part of a geometric exercise to construct the biggest triangle in the vast expanse of seating. Yesterday it was a place of quiet contemplation. Three weeks on Sunday, England and India will meet here. It will be cacophonous.