Bob Willis Trophy: Tim Bresnan hits century on Warwickshire debut as Bears shine at Edgbaston
Warwickshire’s veteran summer signing Tim Bresnan hit a superb century on his debut against Northamptonshire as the Bears kept up their fine start in the Bob Willis Trophy.
After Olly Stone took 4-39 against his former county on day one, it was again fitting that it should be another Warwickshire fast bowler making headlines in the new red-ball competition named after one of the Bears’ most famous sons.
Former England all-rounder Bresnan, now 35, hit 105, supplemented by young opener Rob Yates’ 88, to earn a first-innings lead of 227 in their opening Central Group game against Northants.
But the honour of the day’s biggest score went in the South Group to Nick Gubbins, who moved on from his overnight 150 to reach 192 before Middlesex enterprisingly declared on 347-6 against Surrey at the Kia Oval.
In the North Group, Derbyshire’s Leus Du Plooy’s superb 130 helped get his side out of a hole in the local derby with Nottinghamshire, while on-loan Notts batsman Ben Slater made an unbeaten 102 for Leicestershire against Lancashire at Worcester.
But, although somehow adding to the disappointment of there being no crowds allowed in to watch, the real plus was the weather.
All nine matches have progressed well on this opening weekend of the 2020 English domestic season, delayed for almost four months by the coronavirus pandemic.
Alex Lees hit a fine half-century for Durham to rally his side against his former county Yorkshire.
Chris Rushworth, Ben Raine and Paul Coughlin took three wickets apiece as Durham bowled out the Tykes for 199 to limit them to a 96-run first-innings lead.
Lees then made an unbeaten 58 out of 106-2, to edge Durham into a 10-run lead by the close.
The day’s highlight at Trent Bridge was South African Du Plooy’s ton for Derbyshire against Nottinghamshire.
The visitors were in trouble at 26-3, replying to Notts’s 324. But Du Plooy was last out after a stand of 93 with Matt Critchley (44), then a last-wicket partnership of 80 with Sam Conners (5), helped them recover to 239.
It was almost an hour and a half after the scheduled close when Notts finally ended the day on 84-3, a lead of 169.
After taking the four remaining wickets for 57 to bowl out Lancashire for 322, Leicestershire responded well with an opening stand of 153 between centurion Slater and Hassan Azad (58) to reach 183-2.
Worcestershire had a fine day in Bristol as Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby’s opening stand of 152 helped the Pears get on top against Gloucestershire.
After taking the hosts’ last two wickets to bowl them out for 267, the visitors closed on 223-2, homing in on a good first-innings lead.
Somerset look on course for victory at Taunton after England paceman Craig Overton’s 5-38 helped to bowl out Glamorgan for 131 – an improvement from 38-6 – for a 165-run first innings lead.
Brother Jamie claimed a couple of scalps too as last year’s County Championship Division One runners-up showed their class. Somerset closed on 131-2 second time around, a lead of 296.
Warwickshire were just as indebted to the efforts of Yates as centurion Bresnan – his first in four years – as they reached 369-8 from their allocated 120 first-innings overs against Northamptonshire.
Opening in the absence of England’s Dom Sibley, 20-year-old Yates has maintained last summer’s promise, showing Sibley-like patience in his 262-ball innings.
Although Northants saw out the final seven overs harmlessly on 19-0, they trail by 208 runs.
Essex, the reigning 2019 county champions, have not made the best start in the new red-ball format.
Although they removed Heino Kuhn without any addition to his overnight 140, Kent still piled up 387 after an unbeaten 42 from Marcus O’Riordan.
Sir Alastair Cook went cheaply but, despite Nick Browne (61) and Varun Chopra (41), Essex closed on 179-5, still 208 runs behind.
Gubbins was finally out for Middlesex when he sliced Rikki Clarke to backward point in the 110th over attempting to prise a fourth batting bonus point against Surrey.
After his fifth-wicket stand of 131 with John Simpson (53), the visitors then made a competitive declaration, opting to forego 8.3 of their 120 overs. But the ambition to take early Surrey wickets was not fulfilled.
The hosts closed on 189-3, thanks mainly to a second-wicket stand between Scott Borthwick (73 not out) and Mark Stoneman (45).
Phil Salt, part of England’s one-day squad this summer, showed he can do it against the red ball too with 80 as Sussex edged into an 178-run overnight lead against Hampshire at Hove.
After being shot out for 176 on day one, Sussex responded by bowling out the visitors for 153, Ollie Robinson and Mitch Claydon taking three wickets each.
Salt then shared an opening stand of 60 with Tom Haines before wickets began to fall again. And, on 155-6 overnight, in what looks a low-scoring match, the game now looks delicately poised.