Hales heroics fail to topple Warwickshire
Warwickshire marched on towards the LV= County Championship title despite Alex Hales’ achievement in scoring an unbeaten century for Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston for the second year in a row.
The Division One leaders suffered only a slight setback when missing the final bonus point as the visitors declared at 356 for eight immediately after avoiding the follow-on.
Warwickshire, with a lead of 148, then ambled to a draw by making 86 for three up to the handshakes at 4:50pm.
The championship could even be in skipper Jim Troughton’s grasp by next week when he takes his team to New Road to take on relegation-threatened Worcestershire.
With two games to play, they are 22 points clear of Sussex in second place and 28 ahead of struggling Nottinghamshire, who have not won a match since beating Sussex at the end of May.
This was another below-par performance with the exception of Hales’ unbeaten 155 and Chris Read’s 95 in a partnership of 222 – a new fifth-wicket record for Nottinghamshire in meetings with Warwickshire. No other batsman made more than 12.
Last September Hales carried his bat at Edgbaston for 106 as Nottinghamshire lost by an innings and 114 runs, and this time he batted for a fraction over six hours, facing 247 balls and hitting 19 fours and a six.
Having got to August with no more than four championship fifties, he has now put together consecutive centuries following his 101 against Durham at Trent Bridge.
Warwickshire laboured in vain either to break his concentration or to restrict his run-scoring opportunities. Read, too, was resourceful and resilient as Nottinghamshire batted on for 90 minutes on the final morning before losing a wicket.
A break from a seam-only attack provided a solution for Warwickshire in Ian Blackwell’s second over.
Uninhibited by the proximity of a hundred, Read gave the on-loan Durham spinner the charge and was easily stumped by Tim Ambrose.
Warwickshire claimed their second bowling point when Paul Franks flapped a catch to mid-on off Boyd Rankin but the third eluded them despite a couple of wickets for Chris Wright in the 87th over.