County round-up: Troughton picks perfect moment to hit stride

 

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The Independent Online

Some counties would have dropped a middle-order batsman who had managed just one half-century in a whole Championship season, but not Warwickshire. Instead, they made Jim Troughton captain for a campaign that could end with him lifting domestic cricket's top prize.

Troughton will know in a week whether that title-winning plan has come together. But his long wait for a hundred ended yesterday – and how. After passing 50 just three times in two years, the left-hander who played half a dozen one-day internationals for England in 2003 filled his boots against Nottinghamshire to the extent of 151.

With opener Ian Westwood having contributed 171, it was left to Rikki Clarke to pummel a tiring attack. The all-rounder powered to 126 (from 101 balls) and was finally out trying to hit a fifth six off left-arm spinner Graeme White.

The Troughton-Clarke sixth-wicket stand realised 203 runs, in 30 overs, and contributed significantly to a commanding total of 574 for 7 declared – Warwickshire's highest against Notts. But a little more oomph yesterday, when Troughton and Tim Ambrose were together, might have earned the Bears another batting point to match the four achieved by title rivals Lancashire at Liverpool.

That may not matter a jot if Warwickshire manage to dismiss Notts twice, having put all their eggs in the innings-victory basket, but there was no early clatter of wickets as the visitors started on a long road to safety.

Lancashire could not find a century-maker against Hampshire, though captain Glen Chapple was dismissed when just three runs short of the landmark – perishing in vain pursuit of an another batting point. Even so, Chapple's eighth-wicket stand of 116 with Kyle Hogg helped the home side to a working total of 388.

Hampshire, needing a win to keep alive their hopes at the other end of the table, can expect to face plenty more spin from Gary Keedy and Simon Kerrigan – having already lost five wickets to the pair while moving to within 160 runs of their hosts.

In Pallekele, meanwhile, Australia again dominated Sri Lanka by dismissing their hosts for just 174 and then replying with 60 for 0 on the opening day of the second Test.

Already 1-0 up in the three-match series, Australia were briefly halted by Kumar Sangakkara, but when he became Test victim No 3 for occasional bowler Mike Hussey only Angelo Mathews' half-century saved Sri Lanka from complete meltdown.

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