Luke Procter posted a superb 144*, his highest first-class score, as Northamptonshire batted out a draw on the final day of this LV= Insurance County Championship match at Wantage Road.
Procter and Ryan Rickelton, who also scored a century, shared a record third-wicket stand for Northamptonshire against Warwickshire of 226 in 51 overs. It was Procter’s third Championship ton of the season, while South African international Rickelton’s 103 came while making his debut in county cricket.
Their stand followed a dramatic start to the day. Simon Kerrigan mopped up Warwickshire’s tail with two wickets in just 10 deliveries to give Northamptonshire a 46-run advantage on first innings. The hosts then lost both openers inside four overs of the reply.
From there though Procter and Rickelton booked in for the afternoon to put any chance of an upset out of the equation. In total Procter hit 19 fours and three sixes in a four-hour stay at the crease (204 balls).
Kerrigan was in the groove immediately in the morning, trapping Craig Miles leg before and having Oliver Hannon-Dalby caught behind as Warwickshire closed on 405.
In reply, Northamptonshire skipper Ricardo Vasconcelos fell in the first over, caught behind off Hannon-Dalby Shortly afterwards Emilio Gay followed in similar fashion off Nathan McAndrew to leave the home side 10 for two in the fourth over.
Rickelton and Procter both looked to be positive throughout the morning session. Procter was in a belligerent mood, pulling disdainfully off both McAndrew and Hannon-Dalby and driving sweetly through the covers.
Rickelton’s first boundary came when he lent into a lovely cover drive off McAndrew but he targeted teenage left-arm spinner Jacob Bethell too, stepping down the wicket to smash him over long-on for six and reverse sweeping and cover driving for fours.
Procter reached his half-century soon after the lunch break, and unfurled some serene drives and cut shots as he got back into his work.
Bethell, playing only his third first-class game, obtained plenty of turn and bounce and posed questions for the Northamptonshire batters. He was taken out of the attack though when Procter took advantage of a long hop and a full toss and dispatched both for six.
Racing through the nineties, Procter struck Lamb over deep midwicket for another maximum before running three to reach his ton off 126 balls..
Rickelton too began in aggressive fashion after lunch, taking five boundaries off Henry Brookes’ first two overs. He went past 50 with a sumptuous drive down the ground and clubbed Matt Lamb for four more in the same direction.
He reached his century with two streaky shots off the outside edge before pulling a short ball from Lamb into the hands of deep midwicket. He had faced 167 deliveries and struck 18 boundaries and one maximum.
Rob Keogh joined Procter with the score 236 for three and the pair safely negotiated the remaining overs before tea.
After the interval Warwickshire turned to their part-time bowlers including the rarely seen medium pace of keeper Michael Burgess who claimed his maiden first-class wicket when Keogh chased a wide one and edged to Miles who was standing in as keeper.
There were no further surprises though as Procter and Josh Cobb batted out the remaining overs before the players shook hands on a draw.