Rob Yates scored his maiden first class century on a day when Warwickshire improved their chances of avoiding relegation by compiling 303-4 against title chasing Somerset.
The Solihull-born 19-year-old displayed a maturity well beyond his years in compiling a century that featured a wide range of shots of both front and back foot. He shared in stands of 153 with Will Rhodes and 89 with Sam Hain.
Not the least impressive feature of Yates’s innings was the way he pressed on beyond his century. He ended on 139 not out, having batted for all but seven minutes of the day. He hit 22 fours and survived 286 balls.
On a fine but breezy day, Warwickshire won the toss and chose to bat. The pitch was so far over towards the River Rea side that spectators in the Hollies Stand could easily whisper words of encouragement or abuse into short leg’s ear. No doubt the proliferation of international matches has taken its toll on the central parts of the Edgbaston square. As it transpired, the pitch was easy paced, with just a suspicion of variable bounce that may cause problems later in the game.
Warwickshire gave a debut to 19-year-old seam bowler George Garrett on the back of good performances both for the second team and Shropshire.
If Warwickshire opener Dom Sibley was in the running for a Test call, he failed his audition, edging a good delivery from Jack Brooks to Roelef van der Merwe in the gully to depart without scoring.
In a season when Warwickshire’s batting has been as fragile and insecure as a government majority, it was refreshing for local supporters to see the second wicket stand between Rhodes and Yates.
Yates in particular grew in confidence as the innings progressed. He drove off the front foot and pulled off the back foot with equal assurance. Although both players played and missed against the pace bowlers from time to time, they for the most part showed good technique in defence.
Both Overtons worked up a good pace. Dom Bess, having returned from his loan spell with Yorkshire, kept a decent line and length in a long spell from the Birmingham City end but achieved little turn. Roelef van der Merwe, too, bowled with great accuracy.
Rhodes and Yates each reached their fifties either side of lunch. Then Rhodes reached for one outside off stump and edged Craig Overton to Steven Davies, who took the catch in front of first slip. The pair had added 153, easily the Bears’ highest second wicket stand of the summer.
Rhodes batted for 117 balls for his 82, hitting 13 fours and one six. It can also be reliably stated that this was also the highest ever stand between two Warwickshire left-handers on a Sunday batting against twins.
Sam Hain saw Yates to his century but never looked at his best. Too often he failed to find the gaps, and scored just 25 of the 89 runs that he and Yates added for the third wicket before he edged van der Merwe to Davies.
In the meantime, Yates passed his previous highest score of 91 and then proceeded to his hundred off 215 balls with 16 fours. He thus became the first teenager to score a century for the Bears since Hain did so in 2014.
Adam Hose, batting against his former teammates, flattered to deceive as has often been the case this season. Having reached 17 with some ease, he fell lbw to a full length ball from the persevering Craig Overton.
Joined by Tim Ambrose, Yates batted serenely on through the second new ball. In the final over, Warwickshire topped 300 and look well placed to bat Somerset out of the game tomorrow.