Jonathan Trott has been one of the success stories of the season after making a return for Warwickshire.
The South-African born former England batsman was forced to take a break from cricket due to a stress-related illness that saw him depart Australia midway through their 5-0 Ashes whitewash.
Then, having attempted a comeback for Warwickshire, he spent a further spell away from the game in a bid to recover completely.
However, at the second time of asking, he has been one of his county’s key players this season, helping them to third place in Division One of the LV County Championship, having been in contention for the title for part of the season.
The 33-year-old has been a delight to watch, playing with a newly-returned confidence that makes it hard to believe he has ever been away.
Warwickshire in control
Along with Sam Hain (148), he put Warwickshire in control with a fine knock of 128 off 222 balls, as Northants once again displayed the poor form that has already seen them relegated to Division Two at the first time of asking.
After the Steelbacks totalled just 273 all out at Edgbaston, the home side strode into the lead as opener and captain Varun Chopra hit a half century, before Trott and Hain both hit tons.
The latter two will return to the crease to continue their fourth-wicket partnership on day three.
Earlier, Northants had been undone by the bowling of Oliver Hannon-Dalby ad Keith Barker, both of whom took two wickets.
Success for Woakes
England’s Chris Woakes failed to take a wicket from his sixteen overs, but like Trott, his season must be viewed as an overall success, and one of difficulties overcome.
A mere novice a year ago, Woakes has quickly established himself as England’s key ODI all-rounder. With Warwickshire and their one-day counterparts, the Birmingham Bears, he starred at the death as they beat Lancashire in the Natwest T20 Blast final.
At a very different stage in his career to Trott, Woakes’ form has opened up all sorts of international opportunities.
Gary Ballance is set to be offered a central contract, which unfortunately appears to signal the end once and for all of Trott’s international career, though few expected him to make a comeback for the Three Lions at any rate.
Nonetheless, Trott can look forward to a full season next time round as Warwickshire look to go one better by lifting the County Championship trophy.