Lancashire lost five wickets for the addition of 23 runs before close on day two as they made a forgettable start in their reply to Warwickshire's 557-6 declared at Edgbaston today.
Faced with 25 overs to bat before close after the Bears had posted their highest ever score against Lancashire, Paul Horton, Karl Brown, Stephen Moore, Steven Croft and Luke Procter all departed as the score went from 31-0 to 54-5.
Horton was trapped lbw by Keith Barker for seven and Brown was caught behind by Tim Ambrose off Chris Woakes for a duck six balls later. Chris Wright then bowled Moore for 17 and had Croft caught behind before Woakes rapped Procter on the pad in the day's penultimate over.
The balls that got Brown and Croft were close to unplayable as Lancashire closed on 61-5, still trailing by 496 with Ashwell Prince and Gareth Cross the not out batsmen heading into tomorrow's third day.
"Warwickshire played really well," said captain Glen Chapple. "We came out hoping to get a good partnership. Things were looking good, but we obviously lost wickets. It's still a good pitch, and we've got the ability to get a good partnership together. We've got to believe we can do that."
The Red Rose endured a frustrating couple of sessions in the field this morning and this afternoon as Warwickshire advanced from 289-4 thanks mainly to Rikki Clarke's unbeaten 123 and Ambrose's 96.
It was Clarke's second century of the season and second against Lancashire after his 140 at Liverpool last month, while wicketkeeper Ambrose posted his highest first-class score for three years.
Clarke hit four sixes, three off Gary Keedy and one off Simon Kerrigan, over long-on or mid-wicket to add to his nine fours during his 181-ball stay at the crease.
Red Rose spinners Keedy and Kerrigan bowled 99 overs between them, with the former finishing with 1-162 from 50 and the latter 3-178 from 49. Kerrigan was the only visiting bowler to strike today.
He had Darren Maddy caught at mid-off by Prince for 44 off the top-edge as Warwickshire unsuccessfully chased a fourth batting bonus point this morning before Ambrose clipped to Moore at mid-wicket this afternoon. Ambrose faced 168 balls and hit nine fours.
Sandwiched in between the two scalps was a life for Clarke on 57 as he got a leading edge back to Kerrigan off his own bowling, although the Preston-born player failed to cling on.
Although runs came relatively easily, Clarke apart, Warwickshire failed to show the desire to take Lancashire's attack apart.
When Clarke came to the crease at 322-5 in the 107th, Ambrose had a 31-run head start. But former Surrey right-hander came close to catching him up in the sixties and seventies as he looked commanding in adding to Varun Chopra's opening day 113.
Chapple, suffering with a left side injury he picked up on Wednesday, was only able to bowl one over despite spending the majority of the day fielding and marshalling his troops.
He will get it scanned on Monday, and added: "With the state of their innings, we thought it best not to bowl. But I wanted to give it a couple of overs to see how it reacted. It's a bit tight, but nothing too dramatic. Hopefully it shouldn't be too long."
Warwickshire's previous highest score against Lancashire was 532-4 here at Edgbaston in 1901.
Photo (c) Nigel French/EMPICS
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd