Tom Price’s inspired return of 8 for 27 sets up Gloucestershire victory
Gloucestershire 255 (Taylor 71, Yadav 5-90, Briggs 3-79) and 149 for 7 (Dent 64, van Buuren 49, Yadav 4-47) batted Warwickshire 274 (Sibley 120, Briggs 65, Gohar 5-64) and 128 (Davies 60, T-price 8-27) with three wickets
For much of this game, Gloucestershire exposed many of the vulnerabilities expected of a side at the foot of the Division One table. But they have their win now to sustain them through the winter months, one gained from a tense final day of cricket in Bristol this summer, and it means the likelihood of Warwickshire’s relegation has become all the stronger.
But Price will also reflect on a single, important moment with the bat at a time when there were so many minor tremors around the ground that it was thought a fracking license had already been sanctioned on Ashley Down Road. With seven needed, three wickets to go and Yadav having just taken three for 8 in 16 balls, Price played a high shot over deep mid-off to slow left-armer Danny Briggs and the ball bounced over the boundary on the third bounce .
Zafar Gohar drove Yadav for the winning hit in the following over to bring general joy to one of county cricket’s coziest grounds. Yadav had proclaimed on his arrival, “I think everyone expects results and I am here to deliver results”, and at 9 for 137 in the match, he had done his best. But his fellow Indian pace bowler Mohammed Siraj, who had also been brought in on a short-term contract, was absent in Bristol and it cost Warwickshire dearly.
Defeat leaves Warwickshire’s First Division survival out of their hands. They must beat Hampshire at Edgbaston next week and hope one of their relegation rivals is badly beaten. Their attention will rarely stray from events at Canterbury, where Kent face Somerset (who could also be involved in the shake-up if they fail to beat Northamptonshire in their current fixture at Taunton), and Headingley, where Yorkshire, who have lost five of their last seven, against Gloucestershire.
With Gloucestershire losing four for 30 against the new ball, a Warwickshire victory looked very possible. Oliver Hannon-Dalby had Ben Charlesworth caught at second slip – a weak drive towards a wide ball – and removed Ollie Price (Tom’s brother) at first slip with a lifter, but it was up to the spin bowlers to win the match and they were out able to oblige.
Yadav posed the biggest threat. Despite the smooth simplicity of his action, he is an attacking spinner with the ability to turn the ball sharply. Briggs is considerably more conservative, flatter and rarely a great spinner of the ball, a product of his age. Both had early success. Yadav dismissed Miles Hammond for a third-ball duck at gully. James Bracey departed in aggrieved fashion when his throw at Briggs appeared to deflect his forearm, but it was an uncontrolled strike for a player yet to score.
With 15 needed, the match was in Gloucestershire’s grasp, only for Yadav to intervene. A full ball had van Buuren lbw on the sweep, Jack Taylor struck out trying to clear deep midwicket and Dent’s cut worked for once, the ball too close to him as he was caught at the wicket. Tom Price defended a bit nervously and his strike against Briggs came when least expected.
Warwickshire, 58 for 5 overnight, had advanced to 128 before being bowled out inside 39 overs as lunch approached. Paul Farbrace, their outgoing director of cricket, had identified a target of 150 as something that would make the game interesting; they reached 148.
Gloucestershire’s impenetrable seam attack had been a major reason why they could not win a Championship game. But in Tom Price they had a tousled, busy seam bowler at the height of his game. Match figures of 10 for 73 gave him the first ten-wicket haul of a career still in its infancy. He hit the seam regularly and found a degree of movement unmatched by any other pace bowler in the game. He will bring Gloucestershire hope as they look to assemble a more competitive pace attack back in Division Two.
Price was 4 for 20 overnight and he kick-started Gloucestershire in an opening five-over spell. He nailed one away from left-hander Jacob Bethell for Dent to have a low chance at third slip and in his next over again found considerable movement to bowl Briggs through the wicket.
Alex Davies, who had made 41 of Warwickshire’s 58 the previous evening, was starved of strike, eventually falling lbw for 60 when Gohar pitched the ball high and flicked the pad before Davies dug out the yorker.
He had found a willing accomplice in Henry Brookes, who lumped 32 from 532 balls, and treated Singh Dale to some robust leg-side strokes, but Brookes subsequently departed as Price returned to squeeze a ball between bat and pad and win a marginal. decision on catch at the wicket. Another big nip-backer, this time to Ryan Sidebottom, ended the inning.
On this evidence, Price could become an extremely good county professional, a man to bring joy to the Gloucestershire faithful for many years to come. Life is not just about those who get a mention in the ECB’s high performance seminars. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
David Hopps writes about county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps