Long, slow and agonising was the descent of the LV=County Championship match between Warwickshire and Sussex into merciful oblivion at sun-baked Edgbaston.
The dead slow pitch was the only winner as the home side, replying to Sussex’s 601 for six declared, batted throughout the final day to finish on 612 for six.
The draw leaves Sussex sixth, on 93 points.
When these teams met at Hove in May, bowlers made hay on a spiteful surface which yielded 761 runs for 39 wickets.
This time the bowlers did all the suffering as, on a track which offered nothing at all to seamers and spinners alike, 1,213 runs were scored for 12 wickets.
The stalemate certainly did nothing to enhance Warwickshire’s title aspirations as they lost further ground on Yorkshire who emphatically beat Durham.
In the absence of any sense of purpose to the match as a whole, it was left to individuals and statisticians to garner what they could from it on the final day.
Laurie Evans (an unbeaten 213 from 396 balls with 24 fours, his maiden double-century) and Tim Ambrose (153 from 256 balls, 18 fours) duly filled their boots with a sixth-wicket stand of 327. It was the highest ever sixth-wicket partnership for the Bears and the fourth-highest by any team in the county championship.
Meanwhile, it is only the second time in a match at Edgbaston that both teams passed 500 in their first innings, the only previous occasion being the famous Brian Lara match against Durham in 1994, and the first time both passed 600.
Having started the final day on 367 for five, Warwickshire advanced to 443 for five at lunch and then plodded onward in front of a tiny crowd, an estimated 85 per cent of whom slept soundly throughout the afternoon session as the sun blazed down.
Most spectators no doubt missed the departure of Ambrose who top-edged a sweep to short fine-leg to become Peter Burgoyne’s first first-class wicket for Sussex.
Evans’s concentration remained total though and he eclipsed his previous career-best, though that innings, an excellent 178 in tricky conditions under pressure against Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston in 2013 was, far superior to this one.
As the match heaved itself soporifically towards the cold slab of history, Sussex spread the bowling workload amongst all 11 players with wicketkeeper Ben Brown taking off the pads to exhibit his nifty slow -eft-arm either side of tea. County championship cricket is usually very good and often excellent but this one - well, there have been better games...
Sussex manager Mark Robinson said: “We’ve got no complaints. Warwickshire intended to prepare a pitch which would bring Jeetan Patel into the game but it didn’t work out that way. These things happen.
“The way it turned out it was a poor game and the pitch just got deader and deader but Warwickshire’s intention was not to have a game like that.
“At least it gave out batters a chance to get some time out there and I’m pleased for them. They have had a tough time this season, playing on some difficult pitches and I have felt sorry for them for some of the stick they have taken.
“But from playing on pitches were getting 200 was a decent effort they have come to one where 600 was par and they have taken advantage so good luck to them.”
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