CRICKET - Warwickshire play out drab draw with Northamptonshire - The Leamington Observer

CRICKET - Warwickshire play out drab draw with Northamptonshire

WARWICKSHIRE and Northamptonshire meandered their way to an inevitable draw in the LV=Insurance County Championship at Edgbaston with just 10 wickets falling in four days of cricket.

The stalemate concluded with Warwickshire on 568-4 in their first innings in reply to Northamptonshire’s 597-6 declared.

Sam Hain (202 from 494 balls, 16 fours, one six) and Matt Lamb (155 from 230 balls with 16 fours) extended their partnership to an unbroken 254, a Warwickshire fifth-wicket record against Northamptonshire.

Against a toiling attack on a flat pitch, Hain and Lamb gently filled their boots during a final day which, like the three which preceded it, presented a less than compelling spectacle.

The batting dominance was not entirely due to the pitch as both bowling attacks, missing spearheads Liam Norwell and Ben Sanderson respectively, persevered nobly but lacked potency.

After Warwickshire resumed on 394 for four on the final morning, Hain and Lamb batted serenely through the morning to take the total to 483 at lunch.

Hain reached 150 from 378 balls while Lamb, having scored briskly the previous evening, settled for quiet accumulation. He advanced to 98 at lunch and reached his ton (163 balls) shortly after.

There was little that visiting skipper Ricardo Vasconcelos could do except rotate his bowlers, though he did not exercise that option very much at one end.

Former England spinner Simon Kerrigan bowled unchanged at the Pavilion End from 2.55pm on the third day until lunchtime on the fourth – a gruelling saga of 37 overs, delivered with not a shred of assistance from the pitch.

The left armer stuck to his task heroically but could have been forgiven, when he returned home with figures of 52-4-174-0, for seriously considering the removal of the captain from his Christmas card list.

It was the little-seen medium pace of Emilio Gay to which Vasconcelos turned for the last hour and, from this bowler, did Hain clip the leg-side single which moved him to 200 from 489 balls, 473 of which he had not struck for four.

Hands were shaken at 4.40pm and this match had, for most onlookers, slipped from memory by 4.45pm.

Warwickshire first team coach Mark Robinson said: “We struggled again with the ball which was disappointing but it was a flat wicket and a bit slower than we expected.

“Northants batted very well but we didn’t bowl great and they got a huge score. Then it was all about us quietening the game down and showing some character and resolve which we have done all season and that was really pleasing.

“Then this afternoon the skies turned leaden and it got to a stage when everybody probably just wanted to go home.

“Their bowlers came at us hard early on and bowled well and it wasn’t easy in those first two sessions.

“But Dom Sibley did some good digging of the garden and then Hainy and Will Rhodes and Lamby started to display the roses. They turned the game into a place which was nice and safe and calm for the dressing room.”

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