Warwickshire 315 (Sibley 142*, Parkinson 3-60) and 184 for 6 (Yates 55, Parkinson 3-64) drew with Lancashire 361 (Jennings 110, Wells 80, McAndrew 4-85) by 42 runs
For much of this match English cricket was happening elsewhere. Most notably, of course, at Worcester, where the captain of England spent much of his Friday bombing the banks of the Severn. And even on this quiet Sunday morning the most pertinent questions were surely being posed at other grounds: Could Glamorgan win again? Might Gloucestershire conjure a victory? Would Sussex embarrass Middlesex? This game at Emirates Old Trafford? Oh, it was heading for a draw, anyone could see that. The pitch was flat and Warwickshire’s deficit with all their wickets in hand at the start of play was only 42.
As things turned out, the teams were, indeed, collecting eight points each plus their bonuses at 5.03pm, yet they only did so after a curious sandwich of a day in which one wicket fell in the morning session, five in the afternoon and none at all in the evening. During the latter period some orthodox defence and resourceful attack by Chris Benjamin and Danny Briggs had extended Warwickshire’s advantage from 98 at tea to 138 when Vilas called off his dogs with only 19 possible overs left in the contest. And by far the most dramatic event of that otherwise calming evening occurred when one of the huge plate glass windows in the press box shattered, albeit without falling onto the outfield below. This remarkable spectacle was accompanied with a colossal bang which attracted the attention of the players and caused the covers to be moved. Briggs and Benjamin, though, batted on. If being crushed by a hundredweight or so of glass troubled them, they did not evince their concern. It was a gutsy effort.
Six hours previously most of us had thought the game would be over by the time Emirates Old Trafford began to disintegrate. And we had good grounds for our judgement. In the morning session, Alex Davies lasted another ten balls before gloving a nasty lifter from Tom Bailey to Keaton Jennings at second slip. A little later, Dom Sibley copped a terrific smack in the nuts when a ball from Luke Wood lifted a little more than he had expected and Rob Yates made 36 not out, his highest score of a season in which he had managed a total of 67 runs in his previous five innings.
Then for two hours or so it appeared that any assumptions about the draw were no more solid than Lancashire’s glazing. Having worked hard to make 41 runs to go with his unbeaten 142 in the first innings, Sibley edged an excellent legspinner from Parkinson to Phil Salt behind the stumps. Less than half an hour afterwards Sam Hain was leg before to the sort of Hasan Ali yorker that is clearly one the Pakistani bowler’s signature dishes: 103 for 3 but the lead was already 55 and no one was panicking. That came later, especially from the hacks.
Yates reached his first fifty of the season with a cover drive off Wood but his pleasure was short lived. Four overs later the Warwickshire No. 3, who was being tipped for an England call-up last September, was bowled for 55 by the same bowler with one that both nipped back and kept low, thereby giving Yates no price at all. That left the visitors on 132 for 4 and their lead of 86 runs was looking more fragile.
Things got worse for the visitors a quarter of an hour later when Rhodes ticked a legspinner from Parkinson to Jennings at leg-slip. The Warwickshire skipper has now scored 73 runs in six Championship innings this season. In Parkinson’s next over Michael Burgess could make nothing of a classic legspinner and was bowled for nought.
Now everything was utterly in the hazard. Lancashire’s fielders cajoled and cackled throughout the evening. Hasan sprinted in from the James Anderson End but two bellows for leg-before were turned down by Graham Lloyd. (Maybe the appeals caused the windows to shatter?) Parkinson bowled consistently well but could not make the breakthrough. He must content himself this evening with figures of 3 for 64 from 34 overs. Lancashire go to Headingley for the Roses match; Warwickshire go back to Edgbaston to take on Northamptonshire; Old Trafford officials go to their insurers.