Moles digs deep as Pollock buries Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire 314 Warwickshire 360-6
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The Independent Online
Shaun Pollock again vented his wrath on Northamptonshire. Having bombarded them with repeated short-pitched deliveries the previous day, he blasted their bowlers with a maiden first-class hundred before Warwickshire established a first-innings lead.

Pollock's century, from 172 balls with eight fours, followed a staunch hundred, from 241 balls, from Andy Moles. Their partnership of 194 in 62 overs was 26 runs short of the 58-year-old record for Warwickshire's sixth wicket.

Moles, batting with the young South African for the first time in a Championship match, merged a personal triumph with his team's collective success. Over the past two years, Moles has overcome a broken arm, appendicitis, an Achilles tendon injury and strained ankle ligaments, this latest problem ruling him out for a month leading in to last week.

It was Moles' 27th century and his first against Northamptonshire, who endured an arid day when taking four wickets. Pollock joined Moles at 118 for 5, with the follow-on a remote possibility. Pollock proceeded to move beyond his career best of 74 not out while Moles was at times becalmed, but all in the cause of staying in. He managed only 15 runs in the hour after lunch and spent another hour over the final 20 to complete a Championship century exactly a year to the week since his previous one, against Somerset.

He remains among the elite minority of non-Test players this century with a career average in excess of 40. His sturdy stride beyond 150 had an air of inevitability. Moles lost the night-watchman Keith Piper, leg- before, playing back to Curtly Ambrose, and Trevor Penney was taken low at slip, providing Andy Roberts, the leg-spinner, with his first Championship wicket for two years. Roberts, the TCCB Second XI Cricketer of 1995 when taking 73 wickets and scoring 791 runs, earned his latest opportunity through the decision of the chief coach, John Emburey, to step down from the game.

The other wickets fell to Paul Taylor, who bowled Dou- gie Brown with a ball which the batsman did not appear to see, and to Ambrose when Pollock's back-foot defence was penetrated. Pollock offered just one chance, a stumping on 57 to David Ripley off Rob Bailey, before raising his bat high and handsome to acknowledge a century of which his father, Peter, another South African Test player, will be equally proud.

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