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Cricket: Centuries give Bears fast start; DYNAMIC DUO: Warwickshire pair are in form.

Byline: By Brian Halford

WARWICKSHIRE'S oneday season started in sensational fashion as centuries from Jonathan Trott and Tim Ambrose powered the Bears to victory against Northamptonshire.

This opening Friends Provident Trophy game was hurtling the visitors' way when the Bears, chasing 297, dipped to 96 for four in the 24th over.

But Trott and Ambrose added 202 - a fifth-wicket record for Warwickshire in all one-day cricket - to see their side home with one ball to spare.

Both struck career one-day bests. Trott put his pair in the first championship game emphatically behind him with 125 from 126 balls with 13 fours and a six. Ambrose's 111, his maiden one-day ton, spanned just 83 balls with 11 fours and two sixes.

Both batted sublimely with Trott steering Warwickshire out of stormy waters and Ambrose supplying thrilling acceleration.

The Bears entered the last ten overs still needing 9.6 an over but, crucially, Ambrose, on 92, was dropped by Stephen Peters at long-leg.

It came down to 12 needed from the last over, from Johannes Van der Wath, and fittingly both batsmen contributed a boundary before the winning runs arrived courtesy of overthrows from a hot-headed shy by the bowler.

Warwickshire needed some batting fireworks after Northamptonshire, last season's north conference wooden spoonists, piled up 297 for six.

Dale Steyn's 16th ball lifted sharply to oust Peters but wickets were a long time coming thereafter.

Usman Azfaal struck 87 from 110 balls, with ten fours and a six, and was well-supported by Chris Rogers (47 from 50 balls) and David Sales (56 from 62) before Rob White, Rikki Wessels and Johannes Van der Wath added blistering late cameos.

The 58 runs that trio plundered in boundaries suggested the Bears' search goes on for effective death bowlers. Steyn was collared for 18 off the final over. After Darren Maddy was yorked first ball, Ian Westwood and Jim Troughton attacked the spinners too soon. Westwood fell to Jason Brown's third ball and Troughton to Robert Dawson's fifth.

Alex Loudon soon spooned to deep mid-wicket but Trott and Ambrose, mixing precision with power and running brilliantly, timed the chase to perfection.

CAPTION(S):

ONE-DAY BEST... Jonathan Trott scored 125 from 126 balls.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 23, 2007
Words:367
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