Warwickshire complete innings win over Nottinghamshire

LV County Championship Division One, Edgbaston
Warwickshire 574-7dec beat Nottinghamshire 238 & 222 by an innings and 114 runs
Warwicks 22pts, Notts 2pts
Match scorecard
Live commentary
Alex Hales
Alex Hales completed his third Championship hundred of the summer

Warwickshire moved a step closer to a seventh county title by completing an innings win over Nottinghamshire.

Notts opener Alex Hales was the only visiting batsman to remain defiant at Edgbaston, carrying his bat for 106.

After resuming on 136-6, with rain the only chance of saving them, Notts' tail folded meekly until a last-wicket stand of 44 between Hales and Luke Fletcher.

On-loan paceman Chris Wright completed a five-wicket haul as the Bears won by an innings and 114 runs.

Victory for Warwickshire against the reigning champions initially sent the Bears 15 points clear at the top, leaving them in pole position to win the County Championship for the for the first time since 2004.

But Lancashire's late, late win against relegation-haunted Hampshire at Liverpool cut that lead to just three, setting up another potentially thrilling finale next week.

The Bears go to Southampton to take on Hampshire at The Rose Bowl, while Lancashire meet Somerset at Taunton and Durham, who are also still in it 15 points behind the Bears, host Worcestershire at Chester-le-Street.

Warwickshire needed only 80 minutes to take Nottinghamshire's last four wickets and romp to their ninth win of the season this morning, seamer Wright taking his second five-wicket haul in three matches since joining on loan from Essex.

Wright, who is in negotiations with Warwickshire about a contract for next season, has now taken 19 wickets since he arrived at Edgbaston.

Only Alex Hales offered prolonged resistance as the Bears climbed above previous leaders Durham, who sat out the penultimate round of matches.

It represents a remarkable turnaround for Warwickshire who were battling relegation 12 months ago while Nottinghamshire were on their way to the title.

But the roles were reversed here with Warwickshire completing only the fifth double over Nottinghamshire in their history following a nine-wicket success at Trent Bridge in May.

The biggest threat to Warwickshire's victory hopes was posed by the weather.

There was light rain around when the players arrived at the ground and further showers were forcecast for midday. But the rain cleared in time to allow play to start on time and Warwickshire made an early breakthrough when Paul Franks thick edged Rikki Clarke's sixth ball of the day to Chris Metters at third slip.

Former New Zealand all-rounder Andre Adams then bottom-edged Wright into his stumps.

Darren Pattinson never looked comfortable, even though he twice flayed Clarke through mid off for boundaries, and he was eventually undone by a yorker from Wright.

Hales turned down easy singles in his last-wicket partnership with Fletcher to ensure that he farmed the strike to complete his third century of the season.

He got there by off driving Wright for his 12th four from 169 balls after which Fletcher went for his shots, including a huge pulled six off Boyd Rankin.

Warwickshire turned to Metters to wrap up their first innings win over Nottinghamshire since 1966, and the slow left-armer struck with his fourth ball when Fletcher drove a long hop to cover.