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Bears retain command after batting on

Warwickshire are still on course for a second successive victory after choosing to take the longer route to overcome Nottinghamshire in the LV= County Championship Division One match at Edgbaston.

Having ruled against enforcing the follow-on when leading by 246, the hosts lost five wickets for 75 in batting again but this proved to be only a minor hitch in their bid to get back into title contention.

A stand of 104 between Chris Woakes and Rikki Clarke, who struck 60 and 54 respectively with the latter’s unbeaten knock spanning just 41 balls, set up a declaration at 180 for six.

Needing 427 in 107 overs, Nottinghamshire made a promising start in reaching 38 without loss, although Alex Hales survived a difficult chance to Clarke at second slip.

Notts were dismissed for 217 first time round as Warwickshire showed the form that made them champions last summer.

Faced with a top-level batting side - Nottinghamshire topped 400 in the first innings in their previous four matches - they produced the skill, drive and variation that was needed to take control of the match.

Off-spinner Jeetan Patel's return of 4-60 included the key wicket of Michael Lumb, pushing a catch back to the bowler after making 51, and Keith Barker's spell of 3-16 was the sledgehammer that broke Nottinghamshire.

First Samit Patel was drawn into driving and edging to first slip and in his next over the left-arm seamer found some devil in a slow surface to have James Taylor and Chris Read caught behind.

Taylor, however, did no harm to his international ambitions. His classy 80 featured 13 fours and came in front of watching England selector James Whitaker.

On the field, the intensity of the cricket and the soaring thermometer may have had something to do with a flashpoint involving Clarke and Ajmal Shahzad.

Apparently distracted by Barker's arm movements in his approach to the crease, the batsman twice pulled away, forcing the bowler to abort his run-up.

Clarke, standing at second slip, became involved in the subsequent exchange of words but calm was quickly restored after intervention by Warwickshire's acting captain, Varun Chopra, and umpire Trevor Jesty.

When Clarke was recalled to bowl soon afterwards, it was perhaps inevitable that he would be the one to dismiss Shahzad, with the aid of a smart catch by Ian Westwood at short-leg.

Equally predictable was that Shahzad would charge in with the new ball and upset Warwickshire's hopes of a trouble-free passage to a declaration in a fiery eight-over spell that yielded 2-33 from eight overs.

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