Depending on events elsewhere, the title is still a mathematical possibility, however remote, and the weather is uncertain enough for the front-runners to be casting anxious glances over their shoulders.
But whatever Warwickshire achieve in their final game, against Northamptonshire at Edgbaston, they will have to do it without Donald.He will play on Sunday, but then returns to South Africa to prepare for a tour of Pakistan and Warwickshire will miss not only his wickets but the ones that his presence obtains for the bowlers at the other end.
There were handshakes all round after Donald had signed off, characteristically, by uprooting Mike Smith's off stump. Helped by two stoppages for rain, which kept him fresh and the batsmen unsettled, he had put together a perfect fast-bowling vignette.
He struck with the first ball of the day when Richard Davis prodded a catch to the substitute fielder, Steve McDonald, at short leg and then Martyn Ball was caught at cover from the fourth delivery after the restart. Jack Russell then picked up where he had left off the previous evening, before being forced to retire by a blow on the back of the head.
For a while there was the intriguing sight of Russell deliberately giving himself room at one end to play a series of strokes through the covers and Jonathan Lewis doing so in rather more involuntary fashion at the other, mainly to keep out of harm's way. Lewis survived a couple of sharp blows on the hand, while Donald first stopped Russell's little game by going round the wicket to deny him room, then getting him caught off an inside edge by Keith Piper, the wicketkeeper, but not before he completed 1,000 runs in a season for the first time.
Resuming on 44, Russell, who reached his personal milestone in his 17th summer on the county circuit, made 67 including 12 fours from 121 balls. Russell was eighth out at 222 and, with Dominic Hewson again too ill to bat, Smith added only two more runs.Reuse content