Worcestershire made two changes to the Championship side from the last match against Somerset. Ben Scott, on loan from Middlesex came into the side to replace Ben Cox. Matt Pardoe was promoted to open the innings in the absence due to injury of skipper Daryl Mitchell with Shaaiq Choudhry being brought into the side.
Ian Bell won the toss for the home side and elected to bat first in heavy overcast conditions. Light rain caused a delayed start to the match which eventually started fifty minutes late. From the start of the innings it was clear that the pitch was going to be difficult to bat on with lots of unpredictable bounce throughout the day, with the occasional ball rising sharply on what appeared to be length deliveries. Two wickets fell in the shortened morning session. Varun Chopra was the first wicket to fall, to a catch on the fine leg boundary by Alan Richardson off the bowling of Damien Wright for 16. The second wicket was that of Will Porterfield who was trapped LBW for 21 off Richardson. By lunch Warwickshire reached 59-2 for two with the England pair of Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott still at the crease.
Further light rain and bad light caused a further delay in the resumption of play after lunch. Jonathan Trott was caught off an edge by Ben Scott for 9 soon after lunch. Damien Wright and Alan Richardson were the stand out bowlers for Worcestershire who were able to take best advantage of the unpredictable pitch. Wright picked up three wickets and Richardson two as Warwickshire found themselves 99-5 with less than 35 overs gone. Ian Bell had battled hard for his 34 off 85 deliveries but was trapped LBW by a ball that kept almost impossibly low and was probably unplayable. Two overs later the reverse happened when Darren Maddy was caught at 2nd slip by Moeen Ali for 7 from a ball that reared up sharply off a length.
However any chance of Warwickshire being dismissed cheaply vanished due to a class innings by Mohammad Yousaf. With a beautifully paced innings Yousaf looked totally at ease on the pitch, helped in part by the rest of the Worcestershire bowling attack not being able to maintain the sort of pressure applied by Richardson and Wright. By tea Warwickshire had reached 139-5.
The evening session belong to the home side with Yousaf looking in total control making the pitch look totally docile and placid. Rikki Clarke was the only wicket to fall in the the session, caught at the wicket by Ben Scott for 56 off the bowling of Gareth Andrew after a 6th wicket stand of 108 with Yousaf. The former Pakistan Test batsman had taken 114 deliveries to score his first 50 but only a further 39 deliveries to score his second 50 with a master class display of batting on a difficult pitch.
At the close Ambrose was unbeaten on 33* sharing an unbeaten 7th wicket stand of 92 with Yousaf who passed his century just before the close finishing the day on 108*. Yousaf only gave one chance throughout his innings, a sharp catch to 1st slip immediately after reaching his century.
Damien Wright and Alan Richardson took the new ball shortly before the close and were able to cause a few problems for the Warwickshire batsmen before the close. However Warwickshire look in control of the match at the end of the first day but it still remains to be seen how the Worcestershire batsmen fair on the pitch when they get their chance at some stage on Day 2.
Close of Play Day 1: Warwickshire 299-6. 87 overs. ======================================================================
Worcestershire finished the 2nd day at Edgbaston requiring five more runs to avoid the prospect of being asked to follow on with only one wicket remaining.
The day started well for the visitors with two wickets within the first eight overs of the day. Mohammad Yousaf was bowled by Alan Richardson for 109, adding just one run to his overnight score. Damien Wright picked up the wicket of Naqaash Tahir soon after for 5 to leave the home side on 318-8. As with previous matches this season Worcestershire found it difficult to remove the tail enders quickly with Warwickshire posting 9th and 10th wicket stands of 25 and 39 respectively to help the home side reach 382 all out just before lunch. In addition to the 58 scored by Tim Ambrose, both Boyd Rankin (25) and debutant Chris Metters (27) made useful contributions to the home side. For the second match in succession Damien Wright finished with a five wicket haul, this time 5-83 in 30 overs. With Worcestershire not bowling many spin overs it was left to Andrew, Wright and Richardson to bowl 84 of the 109 overs bowled in the Warwickshire innings.
The new opening pair of James Cameron and Matt Pardoe batted out the four overs before lunch with the score on 4-0. After the lunch the pair made steady but solid progress and looked well set as the partnership passed 50 without loss. However the partnership was broken soon after by Darren Maddy with James Cameron edging a catch to Tim Ambrose for 28. Vikram Solanki made a 2nd wicket stand of 59 with Pardoe before being well caught at 1st slip by Darren Maddy for 25. Just before the wicket Pardoe passed his half century and was still unbeaten at tea when Worcestershire were on 122-2.
The evening session easily belonged to the home side. Chris Metters bowled unchanged from the City end and took 5-65 on his First Class debut. Rikki Clarke bowled a twelve over spell from the Pavilion end picking up two wickets himself as Worcestershire fell from 126-1 to 228-9 during the session. While the wicket was still unpredictable and batting never easy some of the wickets could not be blamed on the wicket. Matt Pardoe made a stylish composed 58, top scoring for Worcestershire before giving a return catch to Metters shortly after the resumption after tea. Moeen Ali held out defiantly making 19 in 98 deliveries before Metters found his outside edge with Trott taking the catch at backward short leg.
By the close of play Ben Scott was unbeaten on 30* with the last man yet to start his innings. Worcestershire require a further 5 runs to avoid the chance of being asked to follow on. However with still two days left and a unpredictable pitch there is no guarantee the follow on would be enforced anyway.
Close of Play Day 2: Worcestershire (228-9) trail Warwickshire (382) by 154 runs with one 1st innings wicket remaining. =====================================================================
Worcestershire lost their final wicket of their 1st innings with the first ball of the day with Alan Richardson caught at slip by Rikki Clarke. Chris Metters finishing with innings figures of 6-55 from 23.4 overs as Worcestershire were all out for 228. With a lead of 154 runs the home side did not enforce the follow on and elected instead to bat again an increase their lead.
The pitch was still very difficult, if not impossible to play at times with a lot of variable and unpredictable bounce. The home side lost early wickets in their 2nd innings, perhaps mostly due to the pitch with Jonathan Trott fending off a ball to Gareth Andrew at gully for 4 and Ian Bell giving a return catch to Jack Shantry for 14 on a ball that practically did not bounce at all. During the session Damien Wright picked up his 400th First Class wicket when he dismissed Varun Chopra for 24. By the lunch interval Warwickshire had reach 83-4 with only Mohammad Yousaf looking able to play shots.
After lunch Warwickshire put a bit of charge on with a view to setting a high target for Worcestershire to chase down. A 5th wicket stand of 73 between Darren Maddy and Yousaf helped the home side build a formidable lead. Gareth Andrew bowling at the Pavilion end made good use of the conditions picking up three wickets in his spell after lunch including Yousaf for 68 and Maddy for 30.
The home side declared their innings on 173-8 at tea time setting Worcestershire 328 to win with 4 sessions of the match to go. The final session of the day was not a good advert for cricket. The Warwickshire bowlers made good use of the pitch, with Naqaash Tahir in particular taking 3-8 in 8 overs from the City end as the Worcestershire batsmen struggled in the overcast conditions. Vikram Solanki was struck by a rising delivery from Boyd Rankin on the back of the neck, below the helmet. It could have been potentially a very serious injury, thankfully he was back at the ground by close of play after going to hospital for precautionary scans and should be able to bat on the final day. Most of the batsmen on both sides had been hit on the hands or body during the match.
With two interruptions for rain and bad light Worcestershire had reached 36-3 by the time play was abandoned for the day with Moeen Ali on 13* and Shaaiq Choudhry on 3*.
Close of Play Day 3: Worcestershire (228 & 25-3) trail Warwickshire by 292 runs ( 382 & 169-8 dec) with 7 second innings wickets remaining.
Less than 20 overs of play were required on the final day to complete the match at Edgbaston. With delays due to injuries and a short rain delay the match was over just before the scheduled lunch break.
Moeen Ali and Shaaiq Choudhry started the day continuing their 4th wicket partnership and at first looked fairly settled. Rikki Clarke picked up the first wicket of the day in the eighth over trapping Choudhry LBW for 7. Two more wickets fell quickly as well, including Moeen Ali for for a battling 19 off 59 deliveries.
Damien Wright was in positive mode against the bowlers and made a brave 7th wicket stand of 44 with Ben Scott who between them braved the onslaught from being hit by balls coming off the pitch at various different angles. Damien Wright was struck on the hand once, and Ben Scott twice, the second of which caused his retirement as well on 31*. With both Vikram Solanki and Alan Richardson also unable to bat the innings was conceded with the score on 109-7, which meant Warwickshire won the match by 218 runs. Naqaash Tahir finished with figures for 4-36 after bowling almost unchanged throughout the innings.
Warwickshire were deducted 8 points during the match for a pitch marked “poor” but this is subject to appeal.
Warwickshire ( 382 & 173-8 dec) beat Worcestershire (228 & 109 ) by 218 runs.
Worcestershire 4 points. Warwickshire 23 points.