Progression to top division still in the balance for both teams after draw
Durham 253 for 7 (Bedingham 92*, Miles 5-62) drew with Warwickshire 237 (Yates 102, Raine 3-51, Stokes 3-55)
Warwickshire and Durham retained their hopes of qualifying for Division One in the LV= Insurance County Championship despite a frustrating final day at Edgbaston.
You could understand why everyone involved wanted to get back out there. With 20 overs left of Durham’s first innings in which both teams could earn bonus points (these are available in the first 110 overs of each first innings) and qualification for Division One looking tight, there was an obvious incentive.
Both may yet come to rue dropped points here. Warwickshire, who took 11 points from this game (eight for the draw, one for their batting and two for their bowling) will feel that, from 195 for 3, they really should have made more than 237.
Durham, meanwhile, let two points slip through their grasp due to a slow over-rate. So keen were they to make up that rate that it is understood that, from around mid-afternoon, they would have happily declared with Bedingham short of his century to have rushed through a few overs. It means they, too, took 11 points from the game.
It all leaves Warwickshire the better placed of the teams going into the final round of games in the group. A high-scoring draw against Worcestershire at New Road should do it. Durham, meanwhile, probably need to beat Nottinghamshire. Both will have to watch out for Essex who, while someway off the pace at present, take on a weak Derbyshire team who are enduring a horrid season.
It is understood they have enquired about various loan options – Surrey’s Dan Moriarty was one obvious lead – but with no luck. It is also understood they have had contact with various overseas players (including India’s Ravi Ashwin) but abandoned such plans as they felt it would be impossible to get a visa in time. Surrey’s plan to sign Ashwin may well stumble for the same reason. Kyle Mayers, who has been signed to play three T20 matches, could be drafted into the Championship side as a consequence.
Rob Yates may take issue with that description. He claimed his maiden first-class wicket in the final day of this game, luring Ned Eckersley into a chip to mid-wicket with one which dipped and turned a little. But it is Yates’ batting which is causing the excitement and you can understand why.
After his first-innings dismissal here – his second shortly after completing a century this season – his coach, Mark Robinson, challenged him over whether he wanted to be a “good or great” batter. His point being, great batters go on and make double-hundreds. But given that Yates is 21, still a student and just recovering from an illness that kept him out of cricket for the best part of a month, and he is enjoying an outstanding season. Nobody in the land has made more centuries. A Lions call-up is starting to look like a possibility.
The one man in this game whose batting impressed as much was Bedingham. He survived a chance on the third day and was fortunate, perhaps, to survive a leg before appeal on the fourth when he had 78. Craig Norwell was the unfortunate bowler.
But he is clearly a class act. Like many of the best, he makes batting appear a simply business and, during the course of this innings, he extended his lead on top of the run-scoring chart to more than a hundred. Sooner or later, he will surely play international cricket with distinction.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo