Cricket Shepparton export Ryan Sidebottom was a shining light in an otherwise dour performance for Warwickshire this week.
Retaining his place in the Bears’ County Championship division one squad for their round 10 clash with Lancashire, Sidebottom finished with his team’s match-best figures (3-71) for the second game running.
The former Karramomus paceman burst back onto the first-class scene with match figures of 6-70 in the Bears’ win over Middlesex earlier this month in his first game at that level in more than four years.
That performance, coupled with figures of 1-31 and 2-11 for Birmingham and District Premier Cricket League side Berkswell in the interim, had Sidebottom named for the Bears once more.
Eighth-placed Warwickshire struggled to compete with the second-placed Lancashire at Old Trafford though, eventually losing the fixture by eight wickets.
Sidebottom batted twice in the clash but failed to score a run, finishing with red ink in the first dig and losing his stumps in the second.
The Bears remain rooted to the bottom of the table, with a home match against Somerset (seventh) on September 5 set to go a long way to deciding which team will be relegated and which will live to fight another day.
Coach Jim Troughton told ECB Reporters Network that the playing group was still more than capable of staying up.
‘‘The win against Middlesex showed what we’re capable of,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s just that we’ve got to show that over four days of cricket and not have these shocking hours where we’re losing clusters of wickets. We have to drag the likes of Yorkshire into it and put people under pressure.’’
Sidebottom would be desperately unlucky to lose his spot in Warwickshire’s line-up for the important contest, with his cumulative bowling figures since returning to the first-class arena now reading 9-141, streets ahead of his closest teammate in that time (5-95 for England international player Chris Woakes).