Ian Westwood gives Warwickshire’s season a much-needed lift

Ian Westwood gives Warwickshire’s season a much-needed lift

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Stumps, Day One: Warwickshire 292/6 (Westwood 153) against Surrey.

After a hard-fought battle, Warwickshire ended day one on 292-6 thanks to 153 from veteran opening batsman Ian Westwood. Although this leaves honours pretty even, Warwickshire will be happy that they have left the batting horrors of their first two matches behind.

After bad light brought an early end to the day, Westwood said that missing the batting disasters of the Bears’ first two matches meant that he brought no baggage into this game.

“I wanted to go out and be positive and I felt able to play freely.  It was overcast all day with the lights on and there was a bit in the pitch so it was a case of being patient and capitalising on the bad balls.”

Westwood has eyes on a second career as a first-class umpire but proved that at the age of 34, he still has plenty to offer as an opening batsman.

His 153 came off just 227 balls and his partnership of 126 with William Porterfield was the Bears’ highest opening stand for three years.

Whereas Westwood went off at the start like an express train, Porterfield was more like Thomas the Tank Engine on a slow day. Nevertheless, his patient 45 was a valuable supporting effort.

Warwickshire’s response to the criticism that they are an ageing side was to increase the number of over-thirties from eight to nine by recalling Westwood and he made sure that the move paid off despite hard work from the Surrey seam quartet.

Tom Curran took three wickets but conceded 90 runs in his 20 overs, Mark Footitt wasn’t in quite the rich vein of form that he has shown recently, so Sam Curran was the pick of the bowlers even though his only victim was Tim Ambrose, pinned lbw by a delivery with the second new ball that jagged back sharply.

On a day when fingers must have been numb with the cold, Surrey’s slip catchers did sterling work, Borthwick taking three catches and Burns and Sangakkara one each.

The pitch was right over on the Pershore Road side of the ground – almost close enough for the Surrey players’ reaction to an appeal for a catch against Ateeq Javid to qualify as road rage; maybe the traffic noise drowned out the sound of an edge – or maybe not.

In any event, the behaviour of the Surrey players brought a stern lecture from the umpires but probably no points on their licences.

If the weather stays dry, there is plenty of scope for a result in this match; and the wisdom of the old adage of not judging a pitch until both sides have batted on it may well be revealed tomorrow.

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