Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad may know how to win an Ashes series but neither was immune to a humbling experience at the hands of county journeymen here yesterday as ailing Warwickshire were revived by an extraordinary batting performance led by strike bowler Neil Carter.
Carter, No 9 in what is currently the worst batting line-up in either division of the County Championship, blasted Broad for three sixes in the same over on the way to a magnificent unbeaten 99.
Swann, in a rare appearance for his county, was given similar treatment by Imran Tahir, who twice hit the England off-spinner over the rope. For good measure, Carter added two more sixes off another England bowler as Ryan Sidebottom was made to suffer the South African-born player's ferocity in a 123-ball innings that also contained 10 fours.
It was especially painful for the left-armer, who would have had Carter out on 18 had Alex Hales not dropped a regulation catch at third slip. Carter missed the chance to make the second first-class century in his 10 seasons at Edgbaston in agonising circumstances, left stranded one run short as last man Boyd Rankin, the non- striker, was run out.
Nonetheless, his efforts turned what had been another woeful batting display by Warwickshire into something considerably more respectable. At one stage 98 for 5, they ultimately picked up three batting bonus points for only the second time this season, having won just three in total in their previous six Championship matches.
The availability of their England trio looked a timely fillip for Nottinghamshire after their defeat to Essex in the last round allowed Yorkshire to establish a 21-run lead at the top of the First Division.
Swann had not played a Championship fixture since April last year and the trio had not appeared together for the county since May the previous year. When captain Chris Read won the toss with humidity high and some bite in the pitch, he needed little encouragement to make the home side bat. They were quickly in trouble as Sidebottom had Ant Botha caught behind in his second over before Broad produced a ball with pace and bounce to stop Jonathan Trott in his tracks after five quick boundaries. After Jim Troughton had followed a ball from Andre Adams to be caught at second slip, Swann made his first mark as Ian Westwood, on the back foot, gave wicketkeeper Read his third catch. When Darren Maddy hooked Broad straight to long leg, the home side were five down.
Two more wickets for seamer Adams had them 157 for 7 but then Carter turned the innings on its head, sharing stands of 43 with Tim Ambrose, 67 with Tahir and 46 with Rankin.