Westwood sets sturdy platform
Warwickshire were indebted to a gritty unbeaten 144 from former captain Ian Westwood as they sustained their LV= County Championship title challenge against defending champions Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston.
The left-handed opener batted through an attritional opening day to help Warwickshire to 235 for three and collect a batting bonus point which nibbled away at the seven-point gap leaders Durham, who sit out this round of matches, enjoyed at the start of play.
It was hard going against an accurate seam attack and the batsmen also found timing difficult when the ball went soft.
But Westwood applied himself diligently and his patient innings stabilised the innings with support from Jim Troughton after Warwickshire had made uncertain progress to 114 for three.
Westwood’s century was the 10th of his first-class career and his second of a season that was disrupted by a broken finger last month.
He resigned last winter after two years as captain so that he could concentrate on his batting and found form in mid-season after a spell of second-team cricket.
Westwood dominated a second-wicket stand of 56 with Will Porterfield, of which the Ireland captain’s contribution was only 14, and then shared a more fluent unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 121 with Troughton, who succeeded him as skipper.
Warwickshire made slow progress during a tedious afternoon session when they were pegged back by the accuracy of Andre Adams and managed only 54 runs in 29 overs.
West Indies left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul had batted 46 balls for eight runs when he edged a low catch to Chris Read off Darren Pattinson.
Chanderpaul and Westwood had chiselled out 19 from 17 overs in a strokeless third-wicket stand but the latter then played with greater fluency and turned a 106-ball fifty into a 205-ball century. The majority of his 16 fours were cut or off-driven.
There was a moment of alarm for Westwood as he neared his century with a top-edged hook for four off Adams, who was again the pick of Nottinghamshire’s attack.
Troughton, without a championship century in two years, was outscored in their stand of 121 but buckled down and played a disciplined supporting innings.
Both attacked against slow left-armer Graeme White and Westwood brought up the 200 when he went down the pitch and drove the spinner down the ground.
Westwood had just struck his 20th four of the day when umpires Nick Cook and Steve O’Shaughnessy took the players off for bad light 40 minutes before the scheduled close.