Russell's rescue act

Warwickshire 418 Gloucestershire 113 & 186-5
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The Independent Online
Gloucestershire were on the back foot for most of the day here yesterday, so much so that you might have suspected that their appetite for the game did not match Warwickshire's - until a glance at the Championship table told you they still have plenty to play for.

Under the circumstances it took some doing to be dismissed in 40 overs on a pitch where their own bowlers had been flogged to all parts of the ground.

Another four wickets soon fell after the follow-on, before Jack Russell and Sean Young introduced some badly needed fibre to their day. The two left handers banished the threat of an embarrassing defeat well inside two days and had added 77 when Young edged Ashley Giles's arm ball and was caught one handed at slip by Dominic Ostler, after a deflection off the wicket-keeper.

It was Ostler's fifth slip catch of the day, and four of them were one- handed. Russell, occasionally giving himself room to thrash bowling of almost any length through the covers, had started to build a typically frustrating and bloody-minded innings when he turned his back on a short ball from Dougie Brown.

It struck him on the back of his helmet and, after lengthy treatment on the field he was obliged, or maybe even persuaded, to retire, having faced 78 balls, feeling very groggy. He is expected to bat again today, if Gloucestershire's cause is not entirely lost by then.

With their young opener Dominic Hewson unable to bat in either innings after being taken ill overnight, Gloucestershire were up against it before a ball was bowled after Neil Smith and Brown had taken their eighth-wicket partnership to 186.

Even the sight of Allan Donald operating off a shortened run, perhaps in deference to a recent injury, did not cheer them; he quickly had Matthew Windows caught off an inside edge.

What followed was a pretty miserable performance during which Brown experienced the twin emotions of first having one batsman, Bobby Dawson, caught behind off a no-ball and then another, Tim Hancock, dropped off a legitimate one, all in the same over.

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