CHAMPIONS Surrey lost out in the battle of the veteran off-spinners with Jeetan Patel matching Gareth Batty’s third innings wizardry.
After surrendering a first innings lead of 105 runs it was always going to be an uphill task for Surrey to survive against Warwickshire.
But evergreen Batty’s 8-64, including a hat-trick to finish off the Bears’ second innings as they pressed to set up a run-chase gave Surrey a glimpse of escape on the final day at Edgbaston.
But New Zealand off-spinner and Bears captain Patel was able to match Batty’s skill levels by claiming 8-36 as Warwickshire stormed to a 130-run victory.
Earlier the Bears had been buoyed by the performance of Liam Norwell who had been recruited from Gloucestershire by Warwickshire’s former sports director Ashley Giles even though he missed most of last season through injury.
Another injury setback delayed Norwell’s Warwickshire debut but he took nine wickets in the match on his first appearance in the defeat at Somerset last week.
Norwell followed up with a match-turning belligerent first-innings half century and the wickets of Test players Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick to win praise from his captain Patel.
“You have got to love Liam Norwell for the fact that he hasn’t played for over a year and he hadn’t played First Division cricket at all before this season.
“But he wanted to come back and I always think that if you put the hard yards in then cricket will repay you. Liam has certainly done that,” Patel said.
“He is adding to our group because he is something different. He just gets a little bit the wrong side and asks tough questions of batters.
“He also strikes a good ball. We might only have had a 50 lead if he hadn’t got what he did. But he put Surrey under more pressure which allowed us to put them under more pressure.”
Norwell’s return to fitness has added welcome experience to a greenhorn Warwickshire side but Patel refused to use a lengthy injury list as a reason for waiting so long for his side to click into top gear.
“Injuries were not an excuse. It’s time for them [the youngsters] to step up. It’s time for them to learn that First Division cricket is about creating pressure, time and time again.”
PAUL BOLTON / Photo: Getty Images