By Stephen Fay
Fine performances by two Warwickshire batsmen drained all the drama from the last day of this Championship match. The only other item in the plot that might have absorbed a small crowd was a substantial innings by England's lost leader, but yesterday was a matter of Waiting for Vaughnie. He felt his hamstring tighten early in the proceedings and retired to the dressing room, not to be seen again.
This was a high-scoring game on at wicket that was not easy on day one but then flattened out. Jonathan Trott and Jeetan Patel scored the 29 runs needed yesterday morning to avoid the follow-on. Once they had done so, a draw was inevitable, even after Yorkshire declared their second innings and left Warwickshire 281 to win in 36 overs. The visitors' intention was to take a punt, hoping to put the frighteners on Warwickshire by taking a couple of wickets, but they had already settled for the draw. Yorkshire only managed to take one wicket before calling the game off at 5pm, and it was not Ian Bell's.
This game was overflowing with runs, though Warwickshire's 482 was their lowest in the first innings of their three Championship games this summer. (They scored 630 against Hampshire and 500 at Taunton.) Each of these games has been a high-scoring draw. Wickets have been dry, though there has been something for the bowlers early on. "The batsmen have played really well," says Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire's director of cricket.
In this match, Trott and Patel both batted with admirable resolution, though it might have been different if Gerard Brophy had not dropped Trott when he was 26 and Warwickshire were six wickets down for 157. Trott went on to score 161 not out, with 19 fours, though what was impressive was the relentless accumulation, rather than style. He and Patel broke Warwickshire's record stand for the ninth wicket, which had stood for 84 years, raising it from 154 to 233. But the most surprising performance was Patel's.
He is from Wellington in New Zealand and he was brought in almost as an afterthought as Warwickshire's overseas player. His previous highest first-class score was 58 not out. His biography on the Cricinfo webstie says that "his batting is underwhelming" and he had made only two half-centuries in 74 matches before joining Warwickshire. In this game he made it to 120, with 16 fours and two sixes. He looked rather more convincing as a batsman than as a bowler.
The case of Michael Vaughan is turning into a sad story. If he had not limped off yesterday, he would have had another chance to score some runs on a benign wicket. But he feared that, had he played, the hamstring that had tightened would go completely.
"We're hoping it will be better in a few days," said Moxon. Vaughan is doubtful for Yorkshire's Friends Provident Trophy game in Bristol tomorrow, though he will travel with the team.
The former England captain, who wants to get back into the Test team, will not have another four-day match until 6 June. Moxon said: "It's not as tough he looks out of form. He's played well." But Vaughan has simply failed to score the runs that might have revived his Test career. Some commentators think the story is already over.
In a game dominated by batsmen, two bowlers aroused curiosity. One was Matthew Hoggard, who managed only one wicket, and that was Warwickshire's last. Perhaps the spark is finally dimming. The brighter spark was Warwickshire's Chris Woakes, a promising 20-year-old who topped the county's bowling averages in 2008. He was inconsistent yesterday. In one over he bowled three times down the leg side. In the next he beat the bat three times with good length balls just outside the off stump.
Offan easy, rhythmic run-up he bowled 10 overs for 29, dismissing Joe Sayers. He is not a Test prospect yet, but he may become one.