County Championship: Tim Ambrose & Ian Bell lead Bears fightback against Sussex

Ian Bell
Ian Bell was just 30 runs away from a first Championship century in two years when he succumbed
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Edgbaston (day two):
Warwickshire 284-9: Ambrose 76*, Bell 70; Wiese 4-50
Sussex 3 pts, Warwickshire 2 pts

Tim Ambrose and Ian Bell led the Warwickshire fightback with half-centuries as the relegated Bears got their County Championship Division Two season off and running at Edgbaston.

After a washed-out first day, play did not get started until after lunch against Sussex, who then dominated.

Bell's 70 was then followed by two key stands involving Ambrose (76 not out).

Coming in at seven, he put on 52 with Keith Barker (25) and so far shared 62 for the last wicket with Chris Wright.

Despite South African David Wiese's best efforts with 4-50, Ambrose ended the day just 24 short of a century.

When the match finally got under way, the first four sessions having been lost to the weather, Sussex quickly removed both openers.

Will Rhodes lasted just 22 balls on his debut, before being caught in the slips off Sussex debutant Ishant Sharma, while Dom Sibley edged Ollie Robinson behind.

But Bell, fresh from a century in the Bears' first-class warm-up match against Durham MCCU, looked back to his best - and Ambrose then took over to lead a rearguard act, helped by the ever reliable Barker and last man Wright (17 not out).

Warwickshire wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose:

"We scrapped hard and got into a pretty good position at the end of the day. Sussex bowled well all day and made it difficult for us.

"But the guys battled hard. Chris Wright faced 70 balls and batted fantastically well. And Ian Bell was just different class. To play like that in those conditions was just amazing.

"I was pleased to get some runs. I had a bit of luck early on when I was dropped on five but you need that luck sometimes.

"I love adding important runs with the bowlers because I know how hard they work at their batting. The guys down the order have contributed a lot of good runs to us over the years."

Sussex bowler David Wiese:

"It was nice for me to get back out there again and in red-ball cricket too as I've played a lot of white-ball lately.

"It was good to get some wickets. It was coming out decently to start with though it turned out to be a bit of a long day in the end.

"It's a good cricket wicket. There is something in it for the bowlers with a bit of nibble if you put it in the right place, but it's a good pitch.

"The batsmen will get value for their shots when the outfield dries out. The outfield probably cost Warwickshire 20 or 30 runs."

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