Warwickshire 263 & 152 Nottinghamshire 116 & 126-3: Nottinghamshire may be forced to pay heavily for pitch demons



A pitch panel convened by the England and Wales Cricket Board will meet at Trent Bridge at close of play today to determine whether action is taken after 33 wickets fell during the first two days here, with Nottinghamshire at risk of a points penalty if the surface is judged to be of less than a reasonable standard.


They could be docked up to 24 points if the panel finds against them, although an eight-point deduction, the punishment for a “poor” surface, is probably more likely if any sanction is taken. Nottinghamshire may not have helped themselves in this instance by taking advantage of the change introduced this season, whereby the home side can decide to make the heavy roller unavailable. This can mean dents to the surface caused by the ball can remain a factor for longer than before in affecting bounce and sideways movement.


As it is, Nottinghamshire have a chance of winning the match, which is an achievement in itself given that they were 147 behind from the first innings. A target of 300 on such an untrustworthy pitch looked to be one that could be classed as aspirational rather than realistic, but a partnership of 92 between Phil Jaques and Michael Lumb changed the mood and the tempo of the contest.


Yet a twist in the story at the end of the day, when Lumb was leg before, playing back to Jeetan Patel’s off-spin, and Jaques succumbed to a ball from Chris Wright, taking off and taking the edge, leaves the outcome in the balance. Three down, Nottinghamshire need another 174 to win. Whichever way it goes, three innings completed by tea on the second day cannot be anyone’s idea of an acceptable state of affairs in a first-class match, not when there are eight Test players involved. The balance between bat and ball here has been too heavily tilted in the bowlers’ favour.


Even Ian Bell, impressive in the first innings, had no answer this time, giving a catch to Chris Read off Harry Gurney as the left-armer slanted a ball across him, having been beaten by the previous delivery. There were three for Gurney and for Peter Siddle, who may be a considerable weapon for Nottinghamshire in the weeks ahead, especially if England keep their hands off Gurney.


Warwickshire were bowled out inside 40 overs and were thus even more grateful for Bell’s first-innings century than previously. Nottinghamshire, six down for 43 overnight, rallied to a degree when Samit Patel (54) and Chris Read put on 72 for the seventh wicket but then lost their last four wickets in the space of eight balls, three of them in one over to Chris Woakes.

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