Warwickshire 24 for 2 trail Nottinghamshire 273 (Patterson-White 73*, Rhodes 4-52) by 249 runs
Dom Sibley and Hanuma Vihari were reminded of the humbling powers of sport on the first day of the Championship match between Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire.
A day that started with Sibley named as a Wisden cricketer of the year and Vihari retain his India central contract finished with the former nursing an injured finger and the latter contemplating a duck on debut for his new team.
Sibley, the England opener, sustained the injury when failing to cling on to a regulation chance at slip offered by Steven Mullaney, on 26, off the bowling of Tim Bresnan. He left the field for treatment shortly afterwards and subsequently went for an X-ray.
With seven weeks to go before the first Test of the summer, Sibley should have time to recover even if the results of the scan show a break. But having endured a tough series in India – he averaged 16.75 across the four Tests – he could have done with time at the crease ahead of the series against New Zealand. He is the second member of England’s first-choice Test XI to sustain a finger injury within the week after Ben Stokes’ IPL was ended by a broken finger.
Sibley’s absence obliged Warwickshire to reorganise their batting line-up. That meant Rob Yates was promoted to open and Vihari moved up to No. 3. In normal circumstances, that would be fine. But Yates, making a fearsome hash of an attempted cut, fell first ball and Vihari only emerged from quarantine on Wednesday. That meant he had time for one net session before embarking on his first innings since the Sydney Test in January. It was hardly ideal preparation for facing Stuart Broad in his own back yard.
While Vihari resisted stoutly for 40 minutes, he was eventually forced to play at one on off stump which may have bounced a little more than he expected and took the edge. Haseeb Hameed held on to a low catch at slip.
For all the familiar names on show in this game – and there are eight Test players involved – it was the relatively unknown Liam Patterson-White who produced the key performance.
Nottinghamshire don’t have the best reputation for the development of young players. While that’s not entirely fair – they have the same number of home-grown players (three) in this match as Warwickshire – it is true they have leaned pretty heavily on the surrounding counties over the years. In this game, for example, they have included five players who developed at either Leicestershire (Stuart Broad and Zak Chappell), Worcestershire (Joe Clarke), Northants (Ben Duckett) and Derbyshire (Ben Slater). Jake Libby, meanwhile, has flourished at New Road having left Trent Bridge.
But they are determined to provide more opportunities for their current crop of youngsters. And, having declined the opportunity to sign a second overseas player, they preferred Patterson-White to Samit Patel, among others, as their spin-bowling allrounder.
He went a long way to justifying the choice, too. Nottinghamshire were 119 for 6 when he came to the wicket but, in partnership with Tom Moores, Broad and Chappell, he helped his side to two batting bonus points and a competitive first-innings score. In withstanding a decent examination of pace from Olly Stone, who got through 20 overs and at times looked hostile, he showed decent temperament and technique and was eventually left stranded on an unbeaten 73. Nobody else managed more than 31.
Patterson-White’s success is not a complete surprise. He scored heavily at second XI and academy level and played for England U-19s as an allrounder. Having broken into the Nottinghamshire team in 2019 – he took a five-for on debut and soon followed it with a maiden half-century – and been sent to winter under the tutelage of Jeetan Patel in New Zealand, it was some surprise when he missed out in the shortened season of 2020.
While he has yet to play a first team limited-overs game – his opportunities have been limited by the presence of Patel, Imad Wasim and Matt Carter at various times – Nottinghamshire expect him to feature regularly in the first-class side and hope a Lions tour could be a possibility next winter.
His ninth-wicket stand with Chappell was worth 63. While Chappell was happy to play a supporting role, he got in line, played straight and demonstrated the patience and hunger that some of his top-order colleagues would do well to emulate. Earlier Ben Slater had been drawn into pushing at a wide one, Hameed drove a full toss to cover and Clarke edged an attempted cut. Duckett and Moores were both dismissed by fine deliveries which nipped back, while Lyndon James over committed himself when backing up and was run out by an outstanding direct hit from cover by Will Rhodes.
Poor Vihari’s bowling was little better than his batting. He was only entrusted with one over after his second ball, the longest of long-hops, was pulled for six by Moores. The boundary on one side of the pitch is unusually small but that was a stroke that would have carried beyond the boundary of any ground. A similar delivery was thumped for four later in the over. He did, at least, redeem himself a little in the field by clinging on to a brilliant one-handed catch to dismiss Mullaney at midwicket.
Nottinghamshire were grateful for Broad’s enthusiasm to play. They were without Jake Ball and Brett Hutton due to injury and Luke Fletcher due to illness so to hear that Broad was keen to play a week earlier than originally envisaged by the England management was something of a bonus.
Their new overseas player, Dane Paterson, didn’t enjoy the most impressive of starts, either. Having succumbed to a second-ball duck, his first delivery was a no-ball that was hit for four. Having conceded six before bowling a ball he could probably empathise with Vihari. The only way is up for both of them.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo