Lancashire v Warwickshire, Aigburth, 1st day April 19, 2012

Late wickets put Warwickshire on top

Myles Hodgson at Aigburth

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."

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  • Dummy4 on April 20, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    I hope Lancs. dont let their batsmen scramble through another season of averaging less than 35.Someone has to become a reliable and consistent scorer otherwise we'll be looking at the wrong end of the table. Before people say its April....look at last season's averages and how often we scraped some runs and then relied on the bowlers to get us out of trouble.Too many of the top 6 batsmen get themselves out and dont dig in and earn the right to play freely. I hope Moores does not let it meander without making changes when the batters fail too much.

  • Dummy4 on April 20, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    "Lord's" always has had it in for Lancashire and show it again when Warwickshire are granted the use of Bell but Lancashire denied the services of Anderson. The dislike of Lancashire goes back more than a century and has at it's roots the dislike held by the social elite of the upstart shopkeepers and workers of Manchester and Liverpool led as they were by a pleb who gave himself airs even if it was "New Money" that had seen him through Harrow. The farmers and workers of Yorkshire, thank God, at least had the sense to let a lord lead them and their successes, unlike those of Lancashire, were acceptable. To make the Lancastrian crimes of lowly origin even worse, they were better at and knew more about cricket than the blue-bloods of Lord's. (Tongue-in-cheek as you may have guessed.)

  • Michael on April 19, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    More batting disappointments for Lancashire, not least for Ashwell Prince, though batting conditions have been difficult. I was a bit surprised by the description of Darren Maddy as an 'allrounder', until I noticed he actually has more first-class wickets than Rikki Clarke at about four runs less apiece!

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