Cricket: Twose step too quick for Moles

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The Independent Online
Warwicks 385-2 v Leicestershire

Leicestershire were clearly not joking earlier this week when they asked Jonathan Agnew and Les Taylor if they fancied a game or two. On yesterday's evidence, you would not rule out an urgent request for Ken Higgs and Terry Spencer to start digging their boots out of the attic.

The pavilion clock was registering 5.25pm, and the scoreboard 285 for 0, when the team occupying second place in the Championship took their first wicket yesterday, and Warwickshire's left-handed Devonian Roger Twose went on to make a career-best 233 not out.

Leicestershire must be horribly thin on resources for the loss of two bowlers - David Millns and Vince Wells - to set them thumbing through the old player directory. The prospect of Agnew spouting into a BBC microphone as he glides in from the pavilion end, with Taylor confirming an order with his deep freeze firm from the mobile phone down at third man, has a slightly comical ring to it.

However, if Agnew or Taylor are harbouring any romantic notions about playing again, a couple of hours' bowling on this pitch might cure them. It is such a shirtfront that Leicestershire would probably have scored something similar had they had been in the throes of a batting crisis instead.

Warwickshire's openers yesterday were Twose and Andy Moles, and if Leicestershire's attack represented more of a gift donkey than a horse, they did not look it in the mouth. Their 285 was the highest for any Warwickshire wicket against Leicestershire, and the fourth highest opening partnership in Warwickshire's history.

The only real point of interest in this pea-shelling operation was the contrast in styles. Twose, who had never made a 100 in the Championship before yesterday, never mind 200, gave it an uncomplicated whack, while Moles appeared to be under the impression that this match is scheduled for three weeks rather than three days.

Moles, whose ample girth was magnified by what looked like half a mattress strapped across his ribcage, was such a sleeping partner that he had made 91 in 91 overs when he was bowled by Alan Mullally, compared to Twose's 191 off a near-identical share of the strike.

What his plan was is anyone's guess. There are only nine sessions in this game, and after the first of them, with Warwickshire still in possession of 20 wickets, Moles had made 20 not out. Perhaps it was a similar case to Peter Roebuck batting with Brian Close years ago. Close, hopelessly behind his partner's scoring rate, wandered down for a mid-pitch discussion. 'I don't know,' Close sighed. 'They're bowling jaffas to me and rubbish to you.'

Twose's century came out of 133 (Moles 30) and by tea he was 154 out of 229 to Moles' 71. His double century came out of 308, off 288 deliveries, and included 27 fours and two sixes. As for Leicestershire, they only collected no bowling points because there is no provision in the rules for receiving a minus.

(Photograph omitted)