Vikram Solanki's injury fuels Edgbaston pitch debate

LV County Championship Division One, Edgbaston

Close, day three: Warwickshire 382 & 173-8 dec v Worcestershire 228 & 36-3

Warwickshire 7pts, Worcestershire 4pts

Match scorecard

Live commentary

The Edgbaston pitch is inspected

ECB pitch consultant Chris Wood is shown a sample of the pitch by Warwickshire head groundsman Steve Rouse

Worcestershire batsman Vikram Solanki was taken to hospital after being hit on the head by a nasty lifting delivery against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

An England & Wales Cricket Board panel had already been convened to examine a suspect surface before Solanki was hit.

Warwickshire have now been hit by an eight-point deduction, but could offset that by going on to win the match.

After declaring on 173-8, having not enforced the follow-on, they had the visitors on 36-3 when rain arrived.

ECB pitch inspector David Hughes had already arrived at Edgbaston on Thursday to take a look at the offending strip.

But the case against a dry, cracked and unpredictable surface hardened as 12 wickets fell in 64.1 overs on a shortened, rain-hit third day.

Erratic and sometimes alarming bounce almost inevitably led to an injury - and the unfortunate batsman was Solanki, when he ducked into a ball from tall Irishman Boyd Rankin.

The former Worcestershire captain crumpled to the ground after taking a blow behind his left ear below the helmet but, although obviously groggy, he was able to walk from the field as the players took a short break for rain.

I have seen some other pitches this season that have been bowler friendly but this one is dangerous, as shown by Vikram Solanki's blow to the head

Dave Bradley BBC Hereford & Worcester

Solanki was cleared of any serious injury after going to hospital for a precautionary check-up but, in his absence, Worcestershire faltered.

The visitors had been on the back foot right from the very first ball of the day.

Chris Metters got one to lift and turn as he removed Worcestershire's last man Alan Richardson, completing figures of 6-65 for the young slow left-arm spinner - the best figures by a Warwickshire bowler on his County Championship debut.

The hosts elected not to put Worcestershire straight back in, instead opting to bat again, reaching 88-4 at lunch, Varun Chopra's 24 proving the best any of the top four batsmen could manage.

William Porterfield got a shooter from Bears old boy Richardson before young left-armer Jack Shantry removed England duo Jonathan Trott and acting captain Ian Bell.

Trott, fending off a lifter towards cover, was dismissed for four - his third single-figure score in four innings - before Bell (14) gave a simple return catch.

But Warwickshire were then rescued by Mohammad Yousuf, who, following up his first-innings century, defied blows to the ribs and elbow before being caught at mid-on for 68 in a flurry of wickets for Gareth Andrew.

After declaring, with one eye on the weather, to set Worcestershire 328 to win, Naqaash Tahir quickly struck twice to remove James Cameron.

Solanki then lasted just six deliveries before being struck on the head by Rankin. And, three balls later, Tahir also claimed the other visiting opener Matt Pardoe.

Tahir then also got rid of Alex Kervezee before the rain came, although there was a long wait until, after after squeezing in late over, play was finally called off for the day at 1840 BST.

CLOSE OF PLAY SUMMARY

BBC Hereford and Worcester's Dave Bradley:

"Much will be written and talked about the Edgbaston pitch. Having seen it for one day, it is poor, and will do little for the confidence of the younger batsmen.

"I have seen some other pitches this season that have been bowler friendly but this one is dangerous, as witnessed by Vikram Solanki's blow to the head.

"Top marks for Boyd Rankin who, having bowled the ball, was quickly there to see if he could help.

"The difference between the two teams has been Mohammad Yousuf, who has hit the bad ball, knowing there would be one coming along with his name on."