Warwickshire recorded an innings victory as they saw off Northants on the final day at the County Ground.
The home side, who resumed on 51/3, resisted for the best part of two sessions, but couldn’t deny the superior visitors who dismissed them for 185 shortly before tea. Chris Woakes, who did the initial damage last night, finished with 4 for 53 and he was assisted by Jeetan Patel who took 3 for 45.
The majority of the opening hour was fairly uneventful as James Middlebrook and Matthew Spriegel carried on where they left the previous evening. With the pitch remaining fairly true, the pair looked in little difficulty as they embarked on the uphill task of trying to bat out the day’s 96 overs.
This changed when Chris Woakes altered his approach to round the wicket and his short-pitched barrage almost bore fruit but Varun Chopra, at first slip, saw the chance fly through his hands. Shortly after, Middlebrook reached a battling half century off 104 deliveries with a driven boundary wide of mid-on off Jeetan Patel but that was his last action of the day, as in Patel’s next over, the opener chipped to Jim Troughton at short midwicket.
Rob Newton (2), fresh off his first innings century, didn’t last long as he edged Patel behind, however, Spriegel’s defiance lasted until the lunch break which he reached having faced 124 balls for his 23.
The short-pitched approach started by Woakes continued after the interval with Rikki Clarke the protagonist and after Spriegel had parried one over gully’s head, he hit Ben Duckett (12) with a solid blow on the side of the head. This necessitated a lengthy spell of treatment and the 19-year-old fell for the sucker punch from the very next ball as a full delivery from Chris Wright enticed a tentative push which ended in William Porterfield’s hands at second slip.
There was a jaunty stay from Andrew Hall (25) which included a couple of sixes off Patel but his fun didn’t last as Woakes found his outside edge. All the while, Spriegel was diligently doing his thing without any fuss and it was something of a surprise when, on 42, he picked out short leg off the face of the bat, Patel the bowler, to end his four-and-a-half hour stay which took up 171 balls.
Steven Crook (20) struck a few boundaries in a breezy affair before he was remarkably snared at short leg as Laurie Evans reacted sharply to a flick off the legs from Clarke. And the end came three balls later as Clarke hit Maurice Chambers (0) in front to wrap up a resounding victory for the visitors.
Next up for Northants in the LV= County Championship is a crunch game with Lancashire at Old Trafford, beginning on Sunday.