Luckless Gallian stays bold in absence

Warwickshire 373 and 214-3 Nottinghamshire 350-6 dec
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Nasser Hussain's bad luck with injuries is as nothing compared with that being suffered by Jason Gallian. Denied any direct involvement in Nottinghamshire's season until last week because of a dodgy knee, the former England batsman looks unlikely to see much more of it after confirmation yesterday that it was a broken finger that painfully ended his first appearance with the bat on Saturday.

His active participation thus terminated – by his former Nottinghamshire team-mate, Vasbert Drakes, ironically – Gallian was left able to influence this match only as non-playing captain. In that respect, he presumably deserves some credit for his side's declaration in arrears yesterday afternoon, a bold move which may well result in a good finish today after Warwickshire scored quickly last evening.

With David Hemp, whose richly entertaining 98-ball hundred included 17 fours and two sixes, and Nick Knight having taken an impressive toll of bowling that at times asked to be hit, Warwickshire have built an advantage of 237 to take into the final day, a sufficient foundation for Michael Powell to offer Nottinghamshire a target, which they deserve.

Given that they scored 461 in the fourth innings to win at Worcester earlier in the season, Nottinghamshire will back themselves to chase anything, although whether Warwickshire have enough resources to give themselves a chance is another matter. Already short of match-winning quality in the bowling department, they have lost Melvyn Betts from this contest, the seamer retiring with a rib injury after sending down only two overs. Like Gallian, he may miss the remainder of the season.

Nottinghamshire batted just long enough to claim a fourth batting point before withdrawing, their progress from 164 for 1 overnight a tale of what might have been on several counts.

Greg Blewett took his season's first-class tally past 1,000 but fell three short of a century in the match when he sought to on-drive a full-length ball from Drakes and lost his middle stump, a fate which also befell John Morris, who played down the wrong line to Alan Richardson.

Usman Afzaal looked to have a century for the taking too, only to edge a catch to slip when Neil Smith found a little turn. Then Kevin Pietersen, having rattled off 11 fours in reaching 71, skied a catch to mid-off to give Ian Bell, the 19-year-old who had become Warwickshire's youngest Championship centurion on Saturday, a maiden first-class wicket.

Two steeply rising balls, from Greg Smith and Andrew Harris, accounted for Powell, caught at slip, and Mark Wagh as Warwickshire's second innings began shakily but as the bowling became less threatening so Knight and Hemp prospered, the latter reaching his hundred with an enormous blow against Afzaal's left-arm spin that disappeared over the Rea Bank stand. This proved his downfall, in the event, the replacement ball knocking back his middle stump as Smith claimed his second wicket.

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