Report: Warwickshire v Lancashire, County Championship
Lancashire strengthened their position among the LV= Insurance County Championship Division One leaders after a perfectly-executed run chase brought them a four-wicket victory over Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Luke Wells led the way with a superb unbeaten 175 as the Red Rose, set a target of 329 in a day and four overs, reached 329 for five with 24 balls to spare.
They were in jeopardy at 93 for four but Wells, who hit 22 fours and a six from 280 balls, batted beautifully alongside Rob Jones (66, 138 balls) in a fifth-wicket stand of 162 in 45 overs.
Lancashire’s third win of the season keeps them within reach of Division One leaders Surrey at the halfway point of the season. Reigning champions Warwickshire, meanwhile, with just one win from seven games, have it all to do to retain their title and sit too close to the opposite end of the table for comfort.
Lancashire resumed on the final morning on five without loss, needing to make the highest total of the match to win. They added only another 14 before Olly Hannon-Dalby struck twice in an over. Keaton Jennings edged to third slip and, three balls later, Josh Bohannon fell lbw.
When Steven Croft was lured into driving at a wideish ball from Henry Brookes and edged to wicketkeeper Michael Burgess, the Red Rose were 53 for three.
Dane Vilas’ frustrating match with the bat then continued. Given out caught when he appeared not to have hit the ball in the first innings, his second knock ended in different but equally exasperating fashion…run out backing up. A sweetly-timed straight drive from Wells was diverted on to the stumps at the non-striker’s end by Liam Norwell – rotten luck for the Lancashire captain, but credit to the big paceman for getting down quickly to parry the ball on to the stumps.
That was the only wicket to fall in the afternoon session as Wells and Jones consolidated to take their side to 167 for four at tea, at which point, with 162 runs or six wickets needed from a minimum of 35 overs, all results remained possible.
On a flattening pitch, Wells and Jones played with increasingly freedom to take Lancashire into the last 20 overs needing 91. Jones fell in pursuit of his 11th four, well-caught at deep square leg by Alex Davies, but the wicket did not stem the run-flow as George Balderson (33, 43 balls) helped Wells seal the victory with a measured partnership stand of 70 in 12 overs.
Warwickshire opener Alex Davies scored a superb century against his former club Lancashire to set up a fascinating final day of their LV= Insurance County Championship tussle at Edgbaston.
Davies defied his old team mates to make 121 (211 balls, 12 fours, one six), his first ton for the Bears, and tilt a terrific, fluctuating game narrowly his side’s way.
His skilful work lifted Warwickshire to 327 for nine declared, setting a victory target of 329 (they suffered a five-run penalty for Henry Brookes running down the pitch while batting). The visitors reached five without loss in four overs before the close.
After Lancashire’s first innings ended on 286 (Liam Norwell five for 78), six runs behind, their seamers bowled superbly to reduce the home side to 195 for seven. The Red Rose was on top until Davies and Henry Brookes (55, 71 balls) counter-attacked to add 84 in 14 overs.
Heading into the final day, all four results remain possible. While events at Trent Bridge this week have underlined the glory of Test cricket, Warwickshire and Lancashire have unfurled an utterly compelling, great advert for the County Championship at Edgbaston.
After Lancashire resumed on the third morning on 280 for nine, Norwell, in his first game back after injury, had Matt Parkinson caught behind off his first ball. The wicket took Norwell’s first class tally for Warwickshire to 79 at 19.17 piece – he remains very much on England’s radar.
Lancashire’s seamers then showed their quality. Tom Bailey hit the top of Dom Sibley’s off stump and George Balderson bowled Rob Yates with a beauty. Warwickshire advanced to 83 for two but were then rocked by a post-lunch blitz of three for four in 14 balls by Will Williams.
The Kiwi’s third ball of the afternoon was a ferocious in-ducker which trapped Sam Hain lbw and his fifth darted back to bowl Will Rhodes, offering no shot. When Matt Lamb was bowled through a big drive, Warwickshire were 95 for five.
Davies and Michael Burgess (46, 71 balls) started the recovery with a stand of 70 in 22 overs before the latter edged a perfectly-shaped outswinger from Bailey. When Danny Briggs chipped Williams to mid-wicket, it was 195 for seven and Advantage Lancashire.
But Davies remained resolute and enjoyed aggressive support from Brookes who breezed to a 65-ball half-century. Both fell on the offensive in the closing overs but there was still time for Norwell to collect a perky unbeaten 36 (32 balls) before the declaration. Williams (four for 70) and Bailey (three for 70) were the pick of a weary but for a long time impressive attack.
Steven Croft ended his recent Warwickshire hoodoo to lead Lancashire’s defiance on the second day of an absorbing LV= Insurance County Championship match at Edgbaston.
Croft’s previous three red-ball innings against the Bears had brought just three runs, but his gritty 90 (183 balls, ten fours, one six) led his side to 280 for nine in reply to 292.
On an intensely competitive, hard-fought day, Lancashire’s first innings was a mirror image of Warwickshire’s the day before. Where Sam Hain’s century had underpinned the home side’s batting with only sporadic support, Croft formed a similar backbone for the Red Rose with similarly bit-part contributions from his colleagues.
Liam Norwell, playing his first game back after injury, led the Bears’ bowling with four for 78.
With Lancashire 12 runs behind with one first innings wicket left, the match could hardly be more finely poised at the halfway point.
Having bowled Warwickshire out in the penultimate over of the first day, Lancashire launched their innings at the start of the second and lost Keaton Jennings, caught behind off Olly Hannon-Dalby, to the 17th ball.
Norwell took the next two wickets. Josh Bohannon edged a drive and was well held by Will Rhodes high at third slip and then Luke Wells (36, 87 balls) mishooked to mid off.
Croft took root though and added 69 in 15 overs with Dane Vilas (37, 51 balls). The latter looked in good nick but stalked off the field in an state of angst having been adjudged caught by Hain at leg slip off spinner Danny Briggs. Lancashire’s captain evidently felt that he did not hit the ball – video evidence suggested he may have had a point.
Rob Jones (28, 67 balls) helped construct another half-century stand with Croft but then mispulled Henry Brookes to mid on. Jones thereby joined the lengthy list in this game of batters to get in then get out, as did George Balderson (19, 35) when he chipped Rhodes to extra cover.
That left Lancashire on 226 for six with a new ball due. Danny Lamb twice pulled that shiny sphere into the Hollies Stand off Norwell but the paceman got his revenge via an edge to first slip.
Norwell then flattened Tom Bailey’s off stump before, just as Hain had been uprooted right at the end of the first day, Croft fell, edging the deserving Brookes to first slip, just as the Bears groundstaff were getting ready to put the cat out.
Sam Hain’s high-class century kept Warwickshire afloat as Lancashire’s bowlers impressed on the opening day of their LV= Insurance County Championship tussle at Edgbaston.
The home side was all out for 292 just before the close with Hain the last to fall for 130 (228 balls, 17 fours). The accomplished knock continued the 26-year-old’s excellent red ball form, his last four championship innings having brought 449 runs for twice out.
After choosing to bat, Warwickshire leaned heavily on Hain as other batsmen got in but then found ways of getting out against a Red Rose attack which persevered well on a good batting pitch.
Hain found some support from the middle order, adding 65 with Will Rhodes and 67 with Michael Burgess, but Lancashire’s bowlers, with Kiwi seamer Will Williams impressing on his debut, kept taking wickets at important times.
Williams closed with 24-11-42-2 and the pressure he built, contributed to wickets taken by his colleagues, notably Danny Lamb (three for 43) and George Balderson (three for 68)
The Bears lost two early wickets against a well-directed new ball attack in which Williams conceded just three singles in his first seven overs. That pressure led to errors as Alex Davies tried to pull a good-length ball from Tom Bailey and spliced to short extra cover and Rob Yates chopped an attempted drive at Balderson on to his stumps. Balderson also dismissed Dom Sibley (28, 70 balls) who edged an away-swinger to wicketkeeper Dane Vilas.
Hain and Rhodes dug in to added 65 in 21 overs before Williams bagged a deserved first wicket when a perfect outswinger took a thin edge from Rhodes (23, 63 balls).
When Matt Lamb was bowled through a drive by his namesake Danny, the Bears were 142 for five, but Hain and Burgess responded with the most fluent batting of the day. Burgess advanced to 41 (72 balls) before lifting a short ball from spinner Matty Parkinson to extra cover.
Hain reached his 14th first class century with successive fours off Parkinson but continued to lose partners as Danny Briggs fell lbw to Lamb and Henry Brookes edged Williams to second slip.
Liam Norwell, back in the side after injury, reached 1,000 first class runs when he clouted Williams for four to get off the mark, but was then bowled by Lamb and Lancashire’s satisfying day concluded in the final over when Hain edged Balderson into the cordon.