Cricket: Knight to the rescue

Warwickshire 252 & 241-5 Worcestershire 448 Match drawn
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The Independent Online
A Tremendous unbeaten hundred by Nick Knight, full of character, determination and, latterly, powerful strokes, thwarted Worcestershire on a last day punctuated by four stoppages for showers. Captaining Warwickshire again after seven weeks out with a broken finger, Knight displayed the kind of grit not always apparent among his England colleagues this summer.

Warwickshire, needing 196 to make Worcestershire bat again, hardly began as if they were determined to bat out the day. The morning was not an over old when Keith Piper, the nightwatchman, obligingly hooked Maneer Mirza straight to Alamgir Sheriyar as long-leg. Perhaps he had seen the black clouds brewing from the south west and reckoned that rain and bad light would hold up Warwickshire's local rivals longer than he could.

Knight, though, has an England place to regain after an in-and-out summer because of injuries. Two fours in Sheriyer's first over flattered but deceived. The first, a delicate dab past gully, suggested sweet timing. The second, cut firmly through point, hinted at power. It was a long time before either was seen again, however, as Worcestershire's captain, Tom Moody, mixed and matched seam and spin, and Knight dug in while rediscovering his touch.

Spin has been a feature of Worcestershire's climb to fourth in the Championship table, and Moody had Richard Illingworth on at the Press Box End as early as the day's seventh over. The slow left-armer, playing his first Championship match this season, made several turn sharply into Warwickshire's two left- handers. But it was Moody's own off-breaks which claimed the next wicket with David Hemp driving back a simple catch.

Another shower and 10 overs later, Mark Wagh failed to stifle a well- flighted ball from Illingworth and was caught at silly-point. With Moody getting bounce as well as turn, Worcestershire looked on course, but Trevor Penney's resolve matched Knight's. Together they added 132 in 40 overs, and by the time Knight reached his half-century after 47 overs (128 balls), an element of frustration had crept into Worcestershire's cricket. His second fifty, hastened by some blazing boundaries off Sheriyar, came off just 57 balls. With four Championship games remaining, Knight still has time to remind the England selectors of his credentials. A repeat of today's innings would be just the ticket.