Late wickets put Warwickshire on top
Lancashire 125 for 5 v Warwickshire
Warwickshire may not have enjoyed the easiest of starts to the new season but they have adapted to their adversity well and edged a long day in difficult conditions at Aigburth to continue their bright start to the new campaign.
Losing the title on the final afternoon of last summer coupled with the loss of their two most influential bowlers - Boyd Rankin (foot) and Chris Woakes (ankle) - for the start of this campaign could have derailed their season before it began. Instead, they have responded impressively to win a tight match against Somerset last week and claimed late wickets on a rain-hit opening day.
Given the better of the conditions after Lancashire lost the toss for the tenth time in 11 home matches, Warwickshire's hopes of exploiting a cold but cloudy day were undermined by rain delaying the start to 1.45pm and then suffering three further interruptions up until tea, including an intense hail shower.
Three wickets in the remaining 10 overs of a final session lasting 39 overs ensured Warwickshire, who were lifted by the return of Ian Bell to their ranks from a disappointing winter away with England, remain in bright spirits.
Karl Brown was the only Lancashire batsman to look comfortable at the crease during his innings of 46, but fell to a rising delivery from Chris Wright, which was edged to gully, after two and a half hours battling with the conditions.
"Going on and off plays with your concentration a little bit and you've got to work hard to get back in the zone," admitted Brown . "I think it's more difficult for the batters because you want to set yourself to bat for a long time and to keep coming off disrupts concentration.
"It's something that comes with playing in early season - the sun isn't going to shine all the time. You are going to have to play in tough conditions sometimes and it's something you have to deal with."
Lancashire, dismissed for 125 last week after being put into bat by Sussex, battled through the conditions well during the early stages after opener Stephen Moore was given an early reprieve after Keith Barker was no-balled for over-stepping having knocked back his off-stump with his first ball of the day.
Barker, Manchester-born and the Godson of Lancashire great Clive Lloyd, made the breakthrough six overs into a 10-over new ball spell punctuated by three rain delays when Moore was brilliantly caught by Rikki Clarke diving low at second slip.
Clarke also ended Horton's determined innings when he won an lbw decision, but the key wicket was the dismissal of Ashwell Prince, Lancashire's overseas star, as one of two late wickets for experienced allrounder Darren Maddy.
Prince clipped straight to midwicket where Bell took a comfortable catch and chastised himself all the way back to the pavilion, while Brown and Steven Croft fell to catches behind the wicket to end a disappointing day for Lancashire.
"It is seaming and doing a bit off the seam, but it is a decent wicket," added Brown. "If you work hard and graft away you can score runs. There is also a bit in it for the bowlers."