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Lancs facing Edgbaston battle
Lancs facing Edgbaston battle
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Luke Procter and Gareth Cross dug Lancashire out of a hole on the opening day of their LV= County Championship match against Warwickshire

The Red Rose had slumped to 129-5 at Edgbaston, but Procter and Cross, who scored 89 and 125 at Sussex last week, counter-attacked well with a partnership of 90 inside 23 overs for the sixth wicket.

It was just unfortunate that they were two of five wickets to fall for only eight runs in six and a half overs as the visitors were bowled out for 227 after Glen Chapple had won the toss and elected to bat.

Ireland pace bowler Boyd Rankin was the Bears’ star of the show, finishing with 5-57 from 17 overs, taking the last three wickets of Jimmy Anderson, Chapple and Gary Keedy for one run in five balls.

Ex-England all-rounder Rikki Clarke also impressed with three wickets and three catches in the slip cordon as the hosts seized the initiative.

England man Anderson gave the Red Rose county a boost, however, before close when he trapped William Porterfield lbw for two, leaving the score at 9-1 in the fifth over of the reply. Warwickshire closed on 39-1 from 16 overs, 188 runs behind.

And captain Chapple is still supremely confident that his side can clinch their third win out of four four-day matches so far this campaign.

He said: “The ball’s doing a bit. We’ve played on three very good batting tracks so far this season, but this was tricky. Having said that, we would have liked more runs.

“We bowled really well, and we were in a decent position with the bat. But the pitch has done a bit. It’s a bit two-paced, and there’s plenty in it for the seamers if we get it in the right area. If we bowl well in the morning, we should get more than the one we got.

“They’ll be quite happy to go in only one down, but we know that we’re in the game. We’re very hopeful that we can restrict them to a low score.”

Lancashire lost Paul Horton in the third over when he edged Chris Woakes behind to Tim Ambrose before Karl Brown left Clarke alone and saw his woodwork disturbed just less than ten overs later.

Stephen Moore, who top scored with 67, and Mark Chilton then shared 63 for the third wicket to see their side beyond lunch without any further alarms.

But Chilton (24) loosely drove Woakes to Clarke at second slip to leave the score at 99-3 – and when Croft was trapped lbw by Clarke without playing a shot, Lancs were 104-4.

Moore was dropped on 45 by Clarke in the slips, but he looked commanding square on both sides of the wicket before his 138-ball stay at the crease was ended by Rankin with 129 on the board.

Procter and Cross eased into the forties during their entertaining alliance, taking the score beyond 200 before Procter edged Rankin to Clarke for 46 and, two overs later, Cross chopped Clarke onto his stumps for 44.

Anderson then fended a short ball from Rankin into Clarke’s hands before Chapple was caught behind two balls later. Keedy departed in exactly the same fashion two balls after that.

Anderson and Chapple shared the new ball for the 16 overs of play left in the day, causing Warwickshire's batsmen several problems. Anderson got Porterfield and had a couple of close lbw shouts. Varun Chopra and captain Ian Bell will resume tomorrow morning on 21 and 15 respectively.

Graham Hardcastle
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
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