Woakes helps Bears to claw their way to top

Warwickshire 201 & 461-8dec Worcestershire 375 & 199 (Warwickshire win by 88 runs)

Given that Worcestershire are expected to be the whipping boys of Division One, the merits of a win here might have to be taken in context. But Warwickshire's victory by 88 runs yesterday could be admired for two sound reasons.

First, they achieved it from a difficult position in the match, having conceded a lead of 174 on first innings. Varun Chopra's second double-century of the season turned the contest on its head but captain Jim Troughton had to time his declaration carefully so Worcestershire would not be tempted to shut up shop.

Second, they at least diluted, if not disproved, the theory that their stunning win over title favourites Somerset in the opening round of games was not a freak. Apart from Chopra, they can point to another high-class performance from Chris Woakes, their 22-year-old all-rounder, who hit 129 and took 6 for 85 at Taunton and followed up with 6 for 49 yesterday as Worcestershire, chasing 288 from a minimum of 75 overs were all out for 199.

An up-and-down pitch was always likely to make life hazardous for the batsmen but Woakes exploited the conditions superbly. The deliveries he found for Daryl Mitchell and Vikram Solanki were too good, the inswinger in the first instance resulting in a bat-pad catch that was well taken at short leg before Solanki, who had just picked up a couple of confident boundaries, had no answer to one that swung away late, edging it to first slip.

Accounting for James Cameron too as Worcestershire failed to lay the necessary foundations for the chase, Woakes ended his first spell with 3 for 23 from 12 overs, coming back with a further 3 for 16 in eight to mop up most of the tail before Boyd Rankin completed the job with more than an hour left.

In between, Ant Botha, the left-arm spinner, had made a couple of important contributions, taking a return catch from an indecisive Moeen Ali drive, then celebrating loudly after Alexei Kervezee, the only batsman to offer any serious threat, was superbly caught at cover off a leading edge for 65.

The result means that Warwickshire, who will have Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott available for three matches next month, are level with Lancashire at the top of Division One after two games – the big plus for them having been the outstanding form shown by Chopra, who wrote himself into the record books with his career-best 228 here, having composed the first double-hundred of his career to set up the win over Somerset.

The 23-year-old former Essex opener is the first batsman in Warwickshire's history to score double-centuries in back-to-back matches, which is a fair distinction considering that the county numbers the likes of Alvin Kallicharran, Rohan Kanhai and Brian Lara among its former players.

Chopra has already exceeded his total runs for the whole of last season, although an aggregate of just 409 from 18 innings in 2010 should not necessarily be taken to indicate a poor year by the former England Under-19 captain.

Having moved away from Chelmsford during the preceding winter, he had not properly settled into a struggling Warwickshire team when a broken hand put him out of action for several weeks. On his return he began to slow glimpses of his true quality, especially in a match-winning 76 against Yorkshire in the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-final.

After such a productive start – he has 496 runs in the bank already – Chopra has a chance to become the first batsman since Graeme Hick in 1988 to score 1,000 first-class runs before the end of May, with potentially 10 more chances available to him.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power