Draw at Warwickshire 'feels like a win' for delighted Northants boss Ripley

Northants head coach David Ripley says his side's draw at Edgbaston 'feels like a win'.

By Tom Vickers
Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 5:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 5:58 pm
Luke Procter and Adam Rossington put together an incredible partnership at Edgbaston
Luke Procter and Adam Rossington put together an incredible partnership at Edgbaston

The County delivered a superb second-innings batting display, led by unbeaten centuries from Adam Rossington (135no) and Luke Procter (112no).

Charlie Thurston fell just four runs short of a century, but Northants were able to rack up their record total against Warwickshire, eventually declaring on 507 for six.

Ripley insists there was never any chance of an earlier declaration to try to set up a victory charge.

And he was simply focused on how they battled back in such spirited fashion after being dismissed for just 142 in their first innings and then being reduced to 148 for five in their second.

"It was a phenomenal effort from the lads," Ripley said.

"It started on the third day but even in the huddle before the last day we knew we still had a lot of hard work ahead.

"One of the things we want to see from the players is resilience and quality later on in games so this was very pleasing.

"Even though it was a good pitch and Warwickshire were a bowler down (Olly Stone only bowled three overs in the second innings), it still takes a lot of concentration and skill to bat for five sessions and lose just one wicket.

"Rossington, Thurston and Procter batted magnificently and the lads up the order also looked in good form, so it's been a good start for us.

"We never seriously thought about declaring on the final day. It is a very good pitch and there wouldn't have been much in the equation for us.

"We would have been giving them a target whereby they could go out all guns blazing and then shut up shop if necessary.

"From the position we were in, it feels like a win.

"I am very proud of the lads."

Seventh-wicket pair Rossington and Procter had batted through the final day to crush the life out of Warwickshire's victory bid.

Northants had seemed to be hurling to defeat when, just after lunch on the third day, trailing by 227 on first innings, they hit 148 for five in their second.

But from that point onwards they showed enormous resilience and resolve to bat their way to safety on a flattening pitch.

The great escape was led by Rossington who dug in to deliver the archetypal captain's innings - 135 from 399 balls with 17 fours.

After adding 159 with Thurston on the third day, on the fourth, the skipper added an unbroken 200 in 83 overs with Procter to steer his side to 507 for six.

The superb rearguard action left a young Northants side proud and delighted, but there were the opposite feelings in the home dressing room.

After completely dominating the first two days, Warwickshire had let victory slip through their fingers, literally with several dropped catches, while the bowling attack failed to deal with the loss of spearhead Stone.

The absence of the former Northants pace ace, who was off the field having a side injury assessed, was a big blow but did not excuse the lack of potency and control from too many others members of the attack.

And Warwickshire first team coach Jim Troughton said: "Credit to Northants, they batted very well, but we missed our chances and didn't bowl well enough for long enough to put them under sustained pressure.

"I know the ruling of a 120 overs limit on the first innings is there for a reason but I think, with the advantage we had, we could have really driven it home with maybe 150 overs in the first innings to maybe put them 300 behind.

"Us having to pull out gave them an opportunity to bat, but, having said that, we didn't bowl well enough.

"So we walk away with a draw and it is disappointing but there were some good points in terms of how we played the game."

Next up for Northants is a home clash with Somerset, which starts in Northampton on Saturday at 11am.