Will Rhodes leads the way for hosts with 91 before Dane Paterson’s triple strike edges Notts ahead
Warwickshire 250 for 6 (Rhodes 91, Hain 61, Paterson 3-57) vs Nottinghamshire
There was a moment, midway through the afternoon session, when the sound of applause could have startled the casual spectator.
“Have we missed a milestone?” the journalists in the media centre asked another.
This was, of course, the first time spectators had been permitted at a Championship match here since September 2019. So they had been starved of the simple pleasures of such things as a nicely timed push through the covers or a well contested tussle between two well-matched teams. It surely did no harm that the day was, initially at least, delightfully bright and sunny. It really did feel like the first day of summer.
Those fortunate enough to have been in attendance witnessed something of an old-school encounter. On a slow wicket, the run-rate never rose much about two-and-a-half an over and both batters and bowlers had to chisel out nearly every run and wicket. It was tough, uncompromising cricket and the applause with which almost every run was greeted suggested it was lapped up by a crowd starved of such entertainment.
There is a major caveat to all this. Sadly, nobody under the age of 16 will be able to attend the Test. Government regulations state that consent must be provided from all those attending and it is deemed impossible for a child 16 to provide informed consent. Those railing against the club, though, need to reflect on who insists on such regulations. It is the government, or more pertinently Covid, with whom they have the issue.
But here, with his side put in on a demanding surface, his batting exhibited that same unfussy authority. On a relatively slow wicket, he retained his composure despite being beaten like a snare drum by Luke Fletcher in the first hour. And then, as he settled, he was prepared to wait for the loose ball and demonstrated both some pleasing drives – a straight drive off Zak Chappell may well have been the stroke of the day – and an efficiently off his legs that punished anything wayward. He looked utterly mortified to fall nine short of a century, very sharply taken by Haseeb Hameed at short leg as he glanced off the face of the bat.
Nottinghamshire will feel they missed an opportunity to be rid of him far earlier, though. Rhodes was dropped by Tom Moores, on six, off Luke Fletcher in the opening overs of the day. It wasn’t the easiest of chances, but Moores appeared to have the ball in his gloves before spilling it.
Another drop later proved, in its way, even more damaging. Pieter Malan, on two at the time, was drawn into an edge – once more off the persevering Fletcher – but Ben Duckett, at second slip, was unable to cling on to a low chance. In attempting the catch, Duckett sustained a blow to the thumb that saw him whisked off the pitch for treatment and a visit to a doctor. Nottinghamshire were awaiting the results of scans at the time of writing but, though Duckett did not take the field for the rest of the day, he did have a net. The club have not ruled out the possibility he could yet bat.
Meanwhile Rob Yates, who had been frustrated for 59 minutes and 39 balls in making eight, was punished for his attempt to drive without much footwork and played on, before Malan was trapped in front by a booming inswinger from Steven Mullaney. Malan seemed to think he had hit the ball.
It was the wicket of Hain which changed the complexion of the day, though. At that stage, Warwickshire were 238 for 3 and building, perhaps to a total approaching 400. But Hain, attempting to turn one on off stump behind square on the leg side, was trapped in front by Paterson, before Michael Burgess missed a straight one and Tim Bresnan sliced to third slip as he attempted to flick one into the leg side. It was reward for some fine wicket-to-wicket bowling.
Nottinghamshire might have something of a gem in Paterson. He is not, by any means the fastest of bowlers. And he is not, by the standards of Sir Richard Hadlee for example, the most outrageously skilful. But as an overseas player who may not be required for huge amounts of international cricket, his availability should be regular and his game – pitching the ball full from wide on the crease, moving the odd one away but threatening more with the one that is angled into the batter – looks well-suited to county wickets. He evoked memories here of Andre Adams and, if he can have half the career for this club that Adams enjoyed, will have served Nottinghamshire very well.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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