Warwickshire v Lancashire, County Championship, 3rd day June 20, 2004

Loye century gives Lancashire a slender lead

Liam Brickhill

Lancashire 505 for 8 (Loye 184, Mongia 89) lead Warwickshire 499 (Wagh 167, Hogg 56, Trott 54, Martin 4-81) by 6 runs
Scorecard

A pre-lunch rain and hail storm meant that over three hours' play were lost today as Lancashire continued their reply to Warwickshire's first-innings 499 at Stratford. Mal Loye narrowly missed out on a double-century, and with Warren Hegg bowled off the last ball of the day Lancashire reached 505 for 8 at the close.

Lancashire began the day at 299 for 3, trailing by 200 runs, but with a lightning quick outfield and short boundaries, Lancs quickly made inroads into the deficit.

The only wicket to fall before the cloudburst was that of Dinesh Mongia, trapped lbw by Ian Bell for a very impressive 89 on debut (333 for 4). He narrowly missed out on becoming only the fifth player to score a hundred for Lancashire on debut.

Lancashire's other County Championship debutant, Paul Horton, came in with Mongia's fall and looked uncomfortable at first. He edged his first ball between the slips for four, and a few overs later edged an attempted cut off Brad Hogg just wide of second slip.

At 12.15, with the score on 376, the clouds rolled in and the small ground soon found itself in the path of heavy rain. Things went from bad to worse, as the rain turned to hail and the outfield took on a wintry white appearance. Mal Loye was unbeaten on 156 when play was called off, with Horton on 18 at the other end.

When play eventually started again several hours later, Horton did not last long, edging Carter to Tony Frost behind the stumps for 22 (381 for 5). Loye moved on untroubled, and with a singe to fine leg with his score on 176 he brought up his 10,000th run in first-class cricket.

Steve Crook batted aggressively, hitting five fours in his 23, but he became Naqqash Tahir's second victim of the innings, caught by Nick Knight. Eventually, Mark Wagh got a ball to turn sharply through bat and pat to hit Loye's leg stump and he departed for 184 - his best score for Lancashire (459 for 7).

After a ragged day in the field, Hogg came back well to bowl Warren Hegg (54) off the last ball of the day as Lancashire closed on 505 for 8, a slender lead of six runs.

It seems likely that Hegg will declare overnight, although with the time lost to rain it seems this game is meandering towards a draw.

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