Frost warms to the task

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Tony Frost

Tony Frost © Getty Images

Tony Frost frustrated Gloucestershire with his fourth first-class century as Warwickshire battled to ensure a draw was the only feasible outcome after a drab third day of the LV County Championship Division Two match at Gloucester’s Archdeacon Meadow.

The 32-year-old wicketkeeper, brought out of retirement this season, ground out his ton off 237 balls, with 12 fours.

It enabled his side to reach 399 for eight in reply to 420 against a home attack deprived of skipper Jon Lewis because of a shoulder problem.

Frost went on to a career-best 141 not out, receiving good support from Jim Troughton (79), Neil Carter (24), Chris Woakes (26) and Naqqash Tahir (33 not out).

No Gloucestershire bowler could summon up much assistance from the Festival pitch, despite mainly overcast conditions, and it was a tedious spectacle for a patient crowd.

Warwickshire began the day on 151 for four, with Troughton unbeaten on 55 and Frost on eight.

Ten runs were added before the new ball was taken in the 81st over by Anthony Ireland and Mark Hardinges in the absence of Lewis, who was reduced to a watching brief as a precaution with Wednesday’s Friends Provident Trophy quarter-final against Yorkshire in mind.

Troughton and Frost progressed slowly with few alarms until Hardinges made the breakthrough with the total on 208, tempting Troughton to flash at a wide delivery, which saw him edge to wicketkeeper Steve Snell.

Gloucestershire’s hopes of victory were boosted when Ant Botha fell for a duck, also snapped up by Snell low off Alex Gidman.

But Frost proved much more stubborn, reaching a patient half-century off 144 balls, with six fours, and helping his team to 231 for six at lunch.

Eight overs were lost due to a shower which delayed the resumption for an hour. Carter then ensured the 271 needed to avoid following on was reached with successive boundaries off Gidman.

But he perished attempting a third in the same over, well caught on the cover boundary by Will Porterfield to give Gidman his second wicket.

Woakes provided sensible support for Frost in an eighth-wicket stand of 45 before pulling a short ball from leg-spinner Matthew Gitsham straight to Marcus North at square-leg.

It was 317 for eight at tea with the rock solid Frost unbeaten on 94. He reached his century with a two through mid-on off Ireland.

Towards the close, Frost moved passed the unbeaten 135 he made against Sussex at Horsham in 2004.

He retired from first-class cricket at the end of the 2006 season and for him, at least, this was a day to remember.

Tahir piled on the frustration for Gloucestershire by contributing to an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 83 before bad light ended play.

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