Wednesday 27 March 2013 

MCC V Warwickshire, Match Report

Picture: Graham Morris
Picture: Graham Morris
Picture: Graham Morris
Picture: Graham Morris
Picture: Graham Morris
Picture: Graham Morris
Picture: Graham Morris
Picture: Graham Morris
Picture: Graham Morris

Report from Clive Eakin, BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire.

Day 4

Warwickshire completed an innings victory at the Zayeed Cricket stadium by lunch on the final day with Rikki Clarke taking three wickets as the MCC’s resistance was at last broken.

Resuming on 308 for 4 the MCC started brightly with Joe Denly and Peter Trego completing the second century stand of the innings.  The Bears continued with their occasional spinners in the absence of the injured Paul Best and Ateeq Javid.  Varun Chopra delivered two overs conceded just four runs and Laurie Evans was convinced he finally had the wicket his hard work merited but had his impassioned LBW appeal against Denly turned down.

The new ball was taken early in the day but the runs continued to come, especially from Trego.  It was the impressive Olly Hannon-Dalby who finally made the breakthrough when Trego edged him to Chopra at first slip for 87 which had come off 76 balls.   On a largely lifeless pitch Hannon-Dalby beat the bat a number of times and was unlucky not to have further success.  The tall Yorkshireman finished his Warwickshire first class debut with five wickets.

Trego’s dismissal was followed next over by that of wicket-keeper Ned Eckersley for one as he fended a Chris Wright delivery to Clarke who took a typically impressive catch at second slip with his only chance of the match.

Denly continued to hold Warwickshire up and got support for a while from James Middlebrook until he was caught behind by substitute wicket keeper Peter McKay off Clarke for 17.  It was a straightforward chance for the teenager who was faultless behind the stumps.

It was clear that Warwickshire weren’t going to have to wait much longer for victory when Denly’s six hour stay at the crease was ended as Clarke bowled him for 146, scored off 243 balls. With lunch imminent Clarke claimed his fourth wicket of the innings when Steve Kirby took him on in an entertaining three ball sequence.  Clarke pitched one short which Kirby left but then indicated he wished he’d paddled the ball over the slips.   He did just that next ball for a four but Clarke had the last laugh when Kirby, on nine, drove to Jim Troughton in the covers, the Warwickshire captain leaning backwards to take a spectacular catch.

Clarke had one ball left in the over to complete a 5 wicket haul but the number 11 batsman Chris Rushworth narrowly avoided a king pair when driving just wide of Troughton.

And the innings was closed next over when Chris Wright claimed his eighth wicket of the match as Simon Kerrigan top edged to substitute fielder Tom Milnes.  Clarke has to settle for the impressive enough figures of 4 for 33 as the Bears won by an innings and 29 runs.

Day 3

Warwickshire faced a tough day in the field against an MCC side showing much more resilience than they’d previously done in the game.  Centurion Joe Denly and Sam Northeast, who just missed out on three figures, were impressive and the Bears bowlers stuck to their task but got little help from the ball or pitch.

An early breakthrough maintained the Bears hopes of a three day finish.  Chris Wright completed a five wicket haul by knocking over Steve Kirby’s off stump to dismiss the batsman for 9 in the third over of the day.  Wright finished with figures of 5 for 35.

But Kirby’s dismissal brought Denly back to the crease, the former England international resuming his innings after retiring ill on day two.  He, together with James Middlebrook, offered the first sign of resistance.  They added 52 for the ninth wicket before Olly Hannon-Dalby trapped Denly LBW for 47.  Bowling with much greater accuracy than he had the previous day Hannon-Dalby made it two in two balls when he knocked over Chris Rushworth’s stumps to give the Winter signing from Yorkshire 3 for 30.

All out for 130 the MCC followed on 431 runs behind but batted with much greater application second time round.  Spinner Paul Best did strike in the ninth over for his first wicket of the match.  He induced Jimmy Adams to turn the ball into the hands of Ian Westwood at short leg to dismiss the Hampshire captain for 4.  But Best soon had to leave the field with a back problem and with back up spinner Ateeq Javed also off with a thigh strain it was left to Westwood and Laurie Evans to provide spin.  Evans, who had never previously bowled spin in first class cricket, delivered 24 overs maintaining commendable control until Peter Trego got after him at the end of the day.

The MCC’s second wicket pair of Denly and Northeast batted for 37 overs in well measured fashion adding 156.  They looked like getting through the middle session without a wicket falling until Wright produced one of the best deliveries of the day, a well placed bouncer which Northeast hooked to Hannon-Dalby in the deep to go for 89.

The Bears seemed to be getting back on top when Rikki Clarke struck with the first ball after tea yorking Dale Benkenstein for 5.  But Denly maintained the resistance.  Dawid Malan was the last victim of the day for 28 edging Hannon-Dalby to teenage wicket-keeper Peter McKay who was subbing for Tim Ambrose while he nursed a slight strain.     

Denly’s hundred was chanceless and came off 155 balls including 13 fours.  He was joined at the end by Trego in bullish mood.  The Bears hoped to buy his wicket but the Somerset all-rounder kept middling the ball hitting five fours and two sixes to reach 57 not out off 50 balls by the close.  Denly resumes on 119 and the pair have put on 79 in less than 15 overs so far.

The new ball is due after two overs on the final day and Warwickshire will hope that will allow them to get back on top.   

Day 2

A devastating spell of four wickets for no runs in three overs from Chris Wright has put Warwickshire in the driving seat after the second day at Abu Dhabi. With the MCC 73 for 7, still 488 runs behind Warwickshire’s first innings total the Bears will have high hopes of finishing the game early and earning an extra day sight-seeing or shopping!

Warwickshire resumed on 370 for 3. Laurie Evans and Jim Troughton progressed the score in steady if unspectacular fashion adding 111 for the fourth wicket.  They nearly got through the session without loss but in the last half hour before lunch Troughton edged the spin of Simon Kerrigan with a forward defensive shot to be caught behind for 54, the wicket-keeper Ned Eckersley making up for having dropped the Bears captain earlier.  By lunch Warwickshire were 465 for 4.

In the second session Tim Ambrose tried to accelerate the scoring.  He hit both Chris Rushworth and Kerrigan for successive fours.  Evans was dismissed for 72, caught by Dawid Malan when attempting a pull shot against Rushworth.  The batsman had to work hard for his runs but he did strike the biggest of the five sixes in Warwickshire’s innings launching a James Middlebrook delivery over mid-wicket.

After Ambrose was brilliantly caught in the deep by Kerrigan off Rushworth for 31,  Rikki Clarke 24 not out and Ateeq Javed 25 not out continued the productive scoring, both playing fluently in an unbroken half century stand.  

With the much feared “twilight period” under floodlights looming Warwickshire decided it was time for a bowl declaring on 561 for 6, easily the highest score in this fixture in its four years in Abu Dhabi.  For the MCC Rushworth finished the most successful bowler with 3 for 93, reward for his commendable persistence.

In the event the MCC had few problems batting in the eight overs to tea.  The only early dismissal was a fortunate one for Warwickshire, Wright deflecting a Jimmy Adams shot onto the non strikers stumps to run out Sam Northeast for 7.

The MCC innings turned after Joe Denly was forced to retire ill on 19 when the score was 45 for 1.  That was when Wright’s glory period started.  He had bowled well in his first seven over spell without success but after a brief break he changed ends and the wickets starting coming.  With the first ball of his tenth over he knocked over Dale Benkenstein’s off stump to bowl the MCC captain for a duck.  The last ball of the same over saw  Malan trapped LBW also without scoring.  In Wright’s next over Peter Trego edged to William Porterfield at fourth slip, again without scoring and with the bowler reluctant to end a long spell he broke Jimmy Adams resistance having the Hampshire captain caught at slip by Varun Chopra for 20.  At that point Wright had taken four for nought in the space of 14 deliveries.

All this time Rikki Clarke was bowling a tight spell at the other end and he got his reward when Eckersley fell into a trap and hooked straight to Ian Westwood on the long leg boundary to be out for 6.

On his Warwickshire debut Olly Hannon-Dalby looked nervous at times and was erratic with his line but he will have felt better when claiming his first wicket for the county as Kerrigan padded up for 1.

James Middlebrook (11*) and Steve Kirby (5*) survived to the close but even allowing for Denly’s return Warwickshire will be hopeful for a massive first innings lead.  

Day 1

Warwickshire dominated the first day of the day-night Champion County match against the MCC at the Zayeed stadium in Abu Dhabi.  Varun Chopra and William Porterfield shared in a second wicket stand of 308 with both batsmen passing 150.  The Bears closed the day on 370 for 3.

After Jim Troughton had won the toss Warwickshire made an uneasy start.  In the second over without a run on the board Ian Westwood mis-judged an attempted pull shot off Peter Trego's bowling and gave an easy catch to Simon Kerrigan at mid-wicket. Chopra played and missed at a couple as opening bowlers Trego and Steve Kirby got a little bit of life out of the pink ball.

But the batsmen soon got on top and looked increasingly comfortable.  They took full advantage of some wayward bowling from spinners Kerrigan and James Middlebrook.   By lunch they had completed a century stand taking the score to 116 for 1.

The middle session proved wicket-less for the MCC bowlers as the batsmen looked untroubled.  Porterfield survived a slip chance on 60 but that was the only opportunity either of them gave.  Chopra was the first to his century with a cover drive for two.  He then helped Porterfield reach a hundred by sprinting a third run after the Ireland captain had looked a touch nervous approaching the landmark.  It was his maiden first class century for Warwickshire.

The pair continued to plunder runs batting through the potentially difficult twilight period as the lights began to kick in.  They took the Bears to 262 for 1 by tea.

It was a surprise when both batsmen were eventually out in the final session of the day.  Chopra couldn't disguise his anger at himself when he drove Kerrigan straight to Steve Kirby at mid-off to go for 163.   Porterfield was out for 162, the victim of a good catch in the covers by Kerrigan off Durham's Chris Rushworth.

A patient Laurie Evans, who's on 15, and Jim Troughton, 8 not out, saw off an hour of the new ball to leave Warwickshire aiming for a huge total when they resume on the second day.

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