Warwickshire in debt to Penney

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The Independent Online
reports from Trent Bridge

Nottinghamshire 166 & 66-4 Warwickshire 414

Warwickshire made runs here yesterday and in far greater quantities than they could have dreamed of. If the pitch held up better than might have been expected, Nottinghamshire's bowling and out-cricket most certainly did not and their limp display did all the other Championship contenders no favours at all.

Notts had started the day believing that if they could contain Warwickshire to a first-innings lead of no more than 100 or so they might well stay in the game, bearing in mind the problems envisaged for the side batting last on such a dry surface.

In the event, Trevor Penney's third century of the summer, an innings of 144 made from 200 balls and packed with resounding front foot strokes, gave Warwickshire a lead of 248 and left Notts to see the day out facing a testing 33 overs.

They needed to bat with rather more character and resilience than they had shown in the field if they were to get anywhere near clawing their way back into the game. They quickly lost Tim Robinson, who somewhat pointedly, it seemed, waited before being given caught behind off Dermot Reeve and when Graeme Archer was caught at slip off Tim Munton they were 29 for 2. Allan Donald returned to bowl Paul Pollard at 64. There was another alarm when David Pennett, the nightwatchman, lost his middle stump to the next ball but it was a no ball. In the last over, however, Pennett was bowled by Donald offering no stroke.

Notts' problem, or one of them, was that their two inexperienced left arm spin bowlers, Jimmy Hindson and Usman Afzaal, both failed to locate the consistent length and line.

Consequently, Warwickshire quickly realised that there would invariably be at least one ball an over which could be dispatched to the boundary and as a result once they had gone in front with only three wickets down.

Not only that, but Nottinghamshire chose to operate without a third man even when Warwickshire were more than 100 runs ahead. When they eventually plugged the gap, the move brought them one of the few ripples of applause that their cricket earned all day.

By then, anyway, Warwickshire had seized the moment. Although Wasim Khan was bowled off an inside edge by Chris Cairns and Roger Twose played back when he might have been forward with a half century beckoning, Penney controlled affairs. Nimble footwork took him yards down the pitch to lift both spinners for straight sixes. The straightness of his technique enabled him to cope better than most with variations in bounce.

Importantly for Notts, however, one came when he had reached 50. Going down the pitch to Hindson, he never quite got there and was dropped at extra cover by Colin Banton. If that had been taken, Warwickshire would have been 281 for 8 and the day might have been different, albeit not by much.

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