Nottinghamshire 97 (Patel 6-16) and 116 for 1 (Duckett 71*) trail Warwickshire 391 for 9 dec (Hose 111, Sibley 87) by 178 runs
Paul Farbrace addressed a Warwickshire members' forum following another refreshing day in a dreamily good week that made his appearance post-play feel a whole lot easier. These can be feisty occasions, but the new sport director has seen captain Jeetan Patel inspire victory over Surrey and now head towards a follow-up against Nottinghamshire. Supporters have evidence of a side moving forward.
If only head coach Peter Moores and director of cricket Mick Newell could say the same about Nottinghamshire. Their last Championship win came in June last year, and the failing batsmen have it all to do on the final day to avoid a ninth defeat in 12 four-day games. Had the head coach and director of cricket faced their own membership on Wednesday evening, observations would have been short, to the point and perhaps not especially polite.
A dismal trip has been salved so far only by the second-innings recovery engineered by Ben Duckett and Chris Nash after following on 294 runs behind. The first-innings total of 97 represents the lowest in the Championship this season and Nottinghamshire's worst against Warwickshire for 20 years. Not since 1988 have they scored fewer at Edgbaston. On that occasion a young blocker called Newell carried his bat for ten in an innings of 44. Would that his charges now had such tenacity.
Adam Hose, who completed his maiden first-class hundred in the first session, revealed that Warwickshire were not surprised at Nottinghamshire's collapse. "We felt they have been quite lackadaisical over the past couple of days so there was room for something like that," he said candidly. Bowlers were assisted by fine catching, a number of opportunities taken with deceptive ease.
Patel, 39, made his debut in New Zealand in 1999/2000, but in two full decades since he cannot have enjoyed such a run of form. Figures of 6 for 16 in Nottinghamshire's first innings gave him an aggregate of 75.4-39-105-18 in three innings taking in the Surrey win, the sort of numbers to recall cricket in the age of Queen Victoria. Visiting batsmen may be compliant, but Patel is combining the skill of a master technician with a fierce will to win.
That competitive drive went too far when he gave Steven Mullaney a send-off after the Nottinghamshire captain looped a catch to third slip. This proved to be merely the middle of a collapse which saw Nottinghamshire lose their last eight wickets for 28 runs. Umpires Tim Robinson and Martin Saggers stepped in to warn Patel, but the incident testified to continued ill-feeling between the sides.
Hose found himself the target of words en route to the century that enabled Patel to declare on 391 for 9, with James Pattinson the most culpable figure. At one point, Robinson shook his head aghast after a conversation with the Australian bowler. Pattinson may have harboured lingering frustration that an lbw appeal against Hose on Tuesday had been rejected. "There has been a little bit of spice through the whole game," Hose acknowledged with considerable understatement.
Patel's decision to bat on was vindicated with the addition of 80 runs. Fatigue from spending 146.5 overs in the field spanning three days, may have contributed towards Nottinghamshire's demise. Low confidence must have been another factor. But there was happiness as well as function in the first 90 minutes because no hundred this season will be celebrated as joyfully as the achievement of Hose, no greenhorn at 27.
On 98 he was struck on the helmet ducking into a short ball by Stuart Broad and underwent two statutory checks by the physio. When he swept Matt Carter for three he leapt into the air and punched his firsts before removing the helmet, no wound visible. "I am at that age where it was starting to bug," he said. "That constant question, not when it would come, but if it would. It meant quite a lot."
If Patel took the subsequent honours then Liam Norwell and Oliver Hannon-Dalby did the groundwork with their economy. Amazingly, 45 of the runs, nearly half of the total, accrued in three overs from Henry Brookes in which he over-stepped five times. He did tempt Duckett to chip to shortish mid on while clever use of the crease by Norwell persuaded Nash, who looked well set, to drive at a ball he ought to have left.
Patel needed only four balls to make an impression, Sam Hain reacting quickly at short leg when Joe Clarke pushed forward. From then on, variations of pace and use of the arm ball paid rich dividends. Tentative footwork cost Tom Moores and while the lower order opted for defence rather than counter-attack, that enabled Patel to build up pressure. Balls gripped and turned, but this was no minefield.
Hose is probably right to anticipate a tougher day as Warwickshire attempt to capitalise. "Duckett and Nash showed in the second innings that if you apply yourself, it is going to be hard work for us," he said, "but that is the game, and that is what we have got to do to win it."