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BATTLING BEARS DIG IN FOR ADVANTAGE.

Byline: Brian Halford

THERE was something for everybody at Edgbaston yesterday, modern and traditional entwining as Warwickshire started their Championship match against Sussex.

After a 684-day hiatus, first-class cricket was played there with spectators on all sides.

The new Pavilion End is open and, at last, again came the sound of applause (most warmly for Laurie Evans' maiden championship halfcentury) and advice ('it's not Twenty20 any more, Troughton,' when the captain essayed an early attacking shot) from the direction of Edgbaston Road. The 'Master Plan' is up and, if not quite running - there is still plenty of work going on - at least ambulant.

On the field, meanwhile, traditionalists feasted on gritty, attritional cricket of old as Warwickshire, inserted in swing-friendly conditions, fought tigerishly. They closed on 261 for six thanks to half-centuries from Evans and Will Porterfield, a dogged stand of 57 in 28 overs between Troughton and Tim Ambrose and a perky unbroken alliance of 69 by Ambrose and Chris Woakes.

In moderate light, against a ball that swung and spun, it is a good effort.

Injuries continue to hamper the Bears with Darren Maddy (broken finger) joined on the sidelines by Boyd Rankin (thigh strain). Andy Miller and Evans came in, leaving the Bears a bowler down but their batsmen were tested first and, put in under thick cloud, two fell quickly.

As a Bear, Jimmy Anyon usually did well in this fixture and he wasted no time cocking a snook at Ashley Giles' decision to release him two years ago. A lovely outswinger did for Varun Chopra and a nifty lifter took Ian Westwood's glove.

Porterfield and Evans retrenched, not without luck against the moving ball. Dropped on 12 and 11 respectively they added 87 in 34 overs before Porterfield (66, 118 balls) edged into the slips and departed livid that, for the fifth time in four-day cricket this season, he had failed to convert 50 into 100.

Evans, confident from 692 2nd XI runs at 49.42 this season, looked compact. Eight previous Championship knocks for Surrey and Warwickshire brought him 58 runs but he compiled an assured 52 (136 balls) before falling lbw to Monty Panesa r.

Troughton (perhaps heeding that sage advice from the not-very-cheap seats) dug in for 28 (108 balls) before batpadding Panesar who soon ousted Rikki Clarke but the rock-solid Ambrose and the fluent Woakes, dropped on 17 and 20 in successive overs, ensured Warwickshire ended the day slightly ascendant.

READY FOR LAUNCH: PAGE 55
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 21, 2011
Words:414
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