Ian Bell was the star attraction when play finally got underway at Edgbaston between Warwickshire and Lancashire today, with the England batsman scoring an elegant century to give the hosts the honours after two days.
Bell, released from England’s Ashes squad whilst the rain was lashing down on Wednesday, returned to county action by scoring his second hundred of the summer, a 180-ball 106 with 14 fours.
The hosts reached 256-4 after 74 overs when bad light stopped prevented an early conclusion to the day. Jonathan Trott was unbeaten on 69, while captain Ian Westwood earlier added 60.
See the highlights tomorrow on www.Lancs.TV
Kyle Hogg (2-40 from 15 overs) claimed two wickets for the Red Rose, but left-arm spinner Gary Keedy was the pick of the bowlers as he returned figures of 1-72 from 24. Sajid Mahmood bowled well without reward, but there was also the crucial wicket of Bell for Oliver Newby.
Newby got Bell just before tea, caught behind by stand-in skipper Luke Sutton with one that swung away.
Lancashire had made the perfect start when Kyle Hogg trapped Tony Frost lbw for a duck in the second over of the match, but Bell and out of form captain Westwood shared an unbroken 107 for the second wicket.
Left-hander Westwood reached his half-century off 84 balls in the penultimate over before lunch, with the hosts going into the break at 109-1 after 30 overs
Bell later confirmed three figures for the 25th time in his first-class career off 162 balls, but not before Hogg had removed Westwood, caught at gully by Tom Smith, for 60 off 111 balls.
Newby got Bell, who had gone beyond 50 for the fifth time in his last six Championship innings, to ensure Lancashire were boosted before tea. And they were given a further lift in the 67th over of the day when Keedy had Jim Troughton smartly caught at short-leg by Mal Loye for two.
Warwickshire, who had already seen Trott celebrate his half-century off 92 balls, were 227-4. They advanced to 256-4 thanks to 13 not out for Tim Ambrose and another 19 for Trott when the umpires took the players off for bad light with 22 of the day’s allocation still remaining. Rain then made sure that there was no chance.
Francois du Plessis replaced Steven Croft in the Lancashire side this morning. Tom Smith also returned at the expense of captain Glen Chapple, who woke up with a sore left foot. Wicketkeeper Sutton took on the skipper’s role.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd