Dillon Pennington shines for Notts as draw approaches

Dillon Pennington shines for Notts as draw approaches

Warwickshire 175 for 5 (Barnard 69, Pennington 3-40, Paterson 2-52) trail Nottinghamshire 400 (Duckett 218, Haynes 74, Slater 65, Hannon-Dalby 5-78) by 225 runs

Another Vitality Championship draw looms at Edgbaston after rain washed out the first two sessions of the third day of the game between Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire.

In the 35 overs that were possible, Warwickshire took their first innings to 175 for 5 in response to the visitors’ 400, Ed Barnard constructing a study of 69 (142 balls) to deny Nottinghamshire the noise they need to force the game towards forward.

As in the first two games of the season at Edgbaston, a combination of a placid pitch and weather interference has led the game inexorably towards a draw. Ben Duckett’s brilliant double century gave Nottinghamshire a platform from which to push for victory, but the excellent bowling conditions of the stormy second afternoon, when Warwickshire fell to 26 for 3, were not replicated in the third.

The cloud was high and the field behaved well when Warwickshire, after resuming play at 71 for 3, moved towards the next figure of 251. If they reach that figure on the final morning, a draw, always very likely, will become a certainty.

As play began late at 4 pm, Barnard and Dan Mousley took their fourth-wicket partnership to 59 in 20 overs before the latter misjudged an attempted leg-swing and fell to Dane Paterson. At 84 for 4, Warwickshire still had a lot of work to do to reach that follow-on figure, but Barnard was relentless. The former Worcestershire player reached 50 off 100 balls and had the unconditional support of Jake Bethell.

Bethell’s natural ability demands a world-class batting average much higher than 20.37 and he showed patience and selectivity in his hitting, suggesting he is determined to improve it. The 20-year-old (38 not out) helped Barnard add 84 in 25 overs for the fifth wicket before, late in the day, Barnard edged a fine delivery from Dillon Pennington to wicketkeeper Joe Clarke.

That was a thoroughly deserved reward for Pennington, whose figures (3 for 40 in 18 overs) on a good batting pitch accurately portray his excellence. The last wicket, taken just as the cat was about to be put out, also kept alive Nottinghamshire’s ray of hope of turning their dominance of this match into victory. If their closers have a productive first hour tomorrow, they could still put the home team under a lot of pressure.