Cricket: Warwickshire waste their wickets: Graeme Wright reports from Edgbaston

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The Independent Online
Warwickshire 232-8; Nottinghamshire 415-7 dec

FOR LONG periods yesterday - and it was a long, slow day with play continuing past 7pm - one wondered where a wicket would come from. At times both the Edgbaston pitch and Nottinghamshire's reserve seam attack, seemed equally well disposed towards the batsman.

But the Nottinghamshire captain Tim Robinson would have been encouraged by occasional irregularities of bounce, and particularly by the way Warwickshire's top order batsmen threw their wickets away when well set. It took some determined batting by Trevor Penney and the lower order, helped by several dropped catches, to keep the home side in touch with a follow-on target of 266.

In the morning, Nottinghamshire batted on for an hour, adding 68 runs. Robinson, 156 not out overnight, took a brace of boundaries from each of Paul Smith's first two overs with the second new ball. He had 200 in his sights when, failing to get over a short ball from the same bowler, he was well caught by Dermot Reeve, making ground swiftly from mid-on towards midwicket. His 189, off 320 balls, included a six, a five and 23 fours.

Meanwhile Greg Mike, his partner in a seventh-wicket century stand, was making untroubled progress towards a maiden championship 50. Incensed by the way Mike inside-edged him to the square-leg boundary, Allan Donald whistled two balls past his chin, only to be whipped through midwicket when he bowled a fuller length. It was Mike's three successive sixes at The Oval in midweek that had brought Nottinghamshire the victory which put them in equal third place in the Championship with two games in hand over leaders Essex.

With Chris Lewis at Headingley, and Chris Cairns nursing an injury, Nottinghamshire's bowling here lacks a spearhead, but as Kevin Evans and Mark Crawley emphasised, accuracy is a useful ally on a slow pitch.

By plugging away, Nottinghamshire's five seamers removed the top half of the Warwickshire order with the follow-on more than 100 runs away. That all eight wickets fell to catches by the wicket-keeper and slips, giving Bruce French a benefit, says little for the discipline of the Warwickshire batting.

Roger Twose will quickly forget the wild swipe that gave Bobby Chapman, 20 this week, his first wicket on his first-class debut. So might Chapman. The ball was short, wide and hardly bounced. But having taken three fours off the youngster's previous over, Twose may have felt a touch of charity was called for - even in the last over before lunch.

Later, with the skies greying, it looked as if the weather would frustrate Nottinghamshire as much as the two Andys - Moles and Lloyd. So it was ironic that young David Pennett broke through as the overhead conditions improved.