Cricket: Sidebottom blow for Yorkshire as Warwickshire tussle drifts towards draw

Yorkshire Bowler Ryan Sidebottom hobbled off
Yorkshire Bowler Ryan Sidebottom hobbled off
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Varun Chopra unfurled a century of the highest class as the Specsavers County Championship tussle between Warwickshire and Yorkshire drifts towards a draw at Edgbaston.

Chopra was unbeaten on 101 out of his team’s 205 for two, in reply to 379 all out, when rain returned yet again shortly after tea on the third day to wipe out most of the last session.

With 88 overs already lost to the weather in the first two days, what could have been a tremendous match between champions and putative challengers has turned out to be a damp squib. And a very cold one.

Lunch was taken early after sleet swept across the ground. Spectators and fielders alike have shivered and shrunk from the biting wind. Two Yorkshire players wore woolly hats.

One spectator, in Block 12, watched play before lunch in t-shirt and shorts. He has not been since.

All told, it has been a joyless visit to Birmingham for Yorkshire so far and it took another unwelcome twist in the morning session when Ryan Sidebottom jarred his knee and limped off halfway through his sixth over. The injury will be assessed overnight but Yorkshire are likely to need their impressive squad depth when they face Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge next week.

They have David Willey to come in, of course, while further up the order Joe Root will also play.

Warwickshire, meanwhile, have a free week after this game and are likely to go into it having played three, drawn three, but with confidence bolstered by early-season runs from their top three batsmen.

Ian Bell has a 174 behind him and Jonathan Trott an unbeaten 219. Today it was Chopra who shone in the April gloom. His 19th first-class century, and first in 20 innings since last May, brimmed with luscious drives and formed the perfect response to his pair in this fixture last season.

After Yorkshire resumed in the morning on 368 for nine, they added just 11 before Sidebottom edged Chris Woakes into the slips to leave Steve Patterson unbeaten with a career-best 63 (76 balls, 11 fours).

Warwickshire soon lost Ian Westwood, bowled by Jack Brooks, but Chopra added 132 in 40 overs with Ian Bell (59, 120 balls, eight fours). Bell edged Adil Rashid to Adam Lyth, one of the woolly-hat-wearers, at slip but Trott, fresh from a double-century at Lord’s, settled immediately.

Chopra and Trott added 55 in 15 overs, the latter compiling a fluent 57-ball 38 before another ferocious rainstorm hit Edgbaston.