Glen Chapple led from the front with four wickets, but came up against a battling effort from Warwickshire's batsmen, as Lancashire pushed for a third LV= County Championship victory.
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A determined century from England batsman Jonathan Trott frustrated the Lancashire attack, and the Ashes winner, will be hoping that his name figures prominently in this week's meeting between the national selectors ahead of next week’s first Test against Bangladesh.
Trott recorded his fourth score of 50 or more in LV= Division One this season as the hosts lost six wickets in their pursuit of a massive 441 to win.
The Red Rose are still overwhelming favourites as they only need another four wickets in the morning, with a new ball available immediately, but a three day finish was looking inevitable when captain Glen Chapple took three wickets to reduce their opponents to 30-3 before lunch.
“The pitch seemed to play a little bit better, and they played well and got stuck in,” said Chapple, who took 4-43 from 14 overs as the hosts closed on 263-6 from 84 overs. “The pitch is behaving differently to different kinds of bowling. I don’t necessarily think the quicker you bowl the more you get out of it. But the new ball has had a much greater effect than the older ball, and we are in a good position.”
Chapple took the first four Warwickshire wickets to fall, with Darren Maddy, Ian Bell, Ian Westwood and Jim Troughton all departing, to add to his 5-27 in the first innings.
But, with the ball not swinging as much as it did on the second day, Trott was able to underpin a much better Warwickshire batting effort from lunch onwards to record his first century of the season, an unbeaten 102 off 197 balls.
It was also the 29 year-old’s highest score since his 119 against Australia in the final Ashes Test at the Oval last August.
Warwickshire need another 178 to win and Trott will begin the fourth day with Neil Carter for company at the crease on 17.
Chapple had trapped Maddy lbw in the tenth over before claiming the prized wicket of Bell in the 12th. The right-hander nicked behind to Luke Sutton as he tried to pull his bat away from a ball that bounced a little more than he expected.
Captain Ian Westwood edged to Sutton in the 16th before the first sign of resistance from the hosts.
But Troughton was the fourth to go when he found Horton at first slip for 41. He and Trott had shared 89 in 24 overs for the fourth wicket before Trott and Clarke added 86 in 26 for the fifth.
Lancashire left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan then got rid of Clarke for 42 to leave the score at 205-5 in the 66th over. And, with the light fading, Tom Smith had Tim Ambrose caught and bowled, in the midst of a dangerous burst.
Kerrigan impressed for figures of 1-59 from 25 overs, while Jimmy Anderson went wicket-less as he recorded 0-44 from 15.
Chapple said that Anderson had struggled with the footmarks, but added: “Jimmy would hope to bowl a little bit better than he did, and I would back him to be on song in the morning.”
Chapple was full of praise for young spinner Kerrigan, sayiing: “He bowled really well. The pitch wasn’t turning that much, but he posed a lot of problems.”
Earlier, Sajid Mahmood had helped the Red Rose reach a second innings total of 199 with six fours and a fabulous front foot six over long-on in an 87-ball 72, his highest score since 2004.
He shared 62 for the ninth wicket with Anderson, who finished unbeaten on an important 25.
Day 2 Report I Day 1 Report
Graham Hardcastle at Edgbaston
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd