Cricket: Warwickshire made to fight their corner: Pollard compiles impeccable century - Worcestershire make the most of short-time working

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The Independent Online
Nottinghamshire 268-4 v Warwickshire

EVERY bad day for Warwickshire is a good one for the bookies, who are beginning to suspect that the impossible can happen.

An hour from the end of Tuesday's NatWest Trophy semi-final here, Ladbrokes were preparing to crack open the champagne as Kent cruised towards apparent victory. Then they discovered that when a team is fired with Warwickshire's collective will, nothing can be taken as read.

Before Brian Lara came you could have had 20,000-1 on a Warwickshire grand slam; now 5-4 is the best Ladbrokes can offer. Whether these odds reflect Warwickshire's chances, however, is another matter.

Top they may be in both leagues but in neither can they relax for a moment. Indeed, they may lose the Championship lead in this round. Nottinghamshire are in control here and Warwickshire may not find it easy to regain the initiative.

Dermot Reeve withdrew from this match with a groin injury, his fifth absence in six Championship games. Tim Munton, deputising as captain, won the toss and took out Tim Robinson, his opposite number, in his second over to a catch at silly mid-on.

Thereafter, not much went the hosts' way. Under overcast skies and on a slow, green pitch they bowled with little penetration, somewhat wearily judging by the way they trudged back to their marks. In five and a half hours before bad light and rain sent the players off, only 81 overs were bowled.

Nottinghamshire would have been better placed still had they not given two wickets away after lunch, when Graeme Archer was run out and Jimmy Adams, lured into a trap by Paul Smith, gloved a catch to leg slip, hooking.

The opener Paul Pollard, who shared a 100-run partnership with Archer, secured a position of strength with an impeccable century spanning 295 minutes, completed with his 14th four. Paul Johnson helped in another three-figure stand before being caught behind off Roger Twose for 63.