Loye and Mongia lead the way for Lancashire
Lancashire 299 for 3 (Loye 125*, Mongia 70*, Law 44) trail Warwickshire 499 (Wagh 167, Hogg 56, Trott 54, Martin 4-81) by 200 runs
The Stratford-upon-Avon ground today resembled a mix between a tempest and a midsummer day's dream as heavy rain forced the players off three times in between bright sunshine. However, in the 76 overs that were played, Lancashire progressed to 299 for 3, 200 behind Warwickshire's 499, with Mal Loye unbeaten on 125.
The small outfield meant a barrel load of boundaries yesterday, and even though the delays for rain slowed the game - and the outfield - down a touch, today was a similar story. In total, 123 boundaries have been struck in the game so far, and the likes of Loye, Stuart Law, and Dinesh Mongia, Lancashire's latest overseas star, kept up Lancashire's run-rate measure to measure to Warwickshire's as they cruised towards the follow-on target.
Loye provided the backbone of the Lancashire reply. After Mark Chilton edged Neil Carter to Mark Wagh at third slip for 13, and Alec Swann's ungraceful 20 was ended by Ian Bell, Loye unleashed his usual array of unorthodox and unexpected strokes, including two successive short-arm pulls from Dougie Brown's first two balls. He hit 16 fours in his 28th first-class hundred and did his best to prevent Lancashire from sliding to their sixth loss in a row this season.
Law was unlucky to be given out when adjudged to be caught down the leg side by Tony Frost off the impressive Naqqash Tahir for a typically stylish 44. Indeed, Law and Carl Hooper will be a difficult double act to follow for Lancashire, but Mongia certainly made an impressive start, easing his way to an unbeaten 70, and being particularly savage on Warwickshire's overseas player, Brad Hogg.
While both players were playing in the World Cup final last year in front of a packed Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, today provided a slightly different scenario. Both players are fighting to get back into their national teams, but on today's evidence, Hogg has a long way to go. He may be doing wonders with the bat this season, but he's in need of a miracle or two with the ball. A pale shadow of his international form, Hogg wasn't introduced until the latter stages of the day, and he bowled far too short and wide to gift Loye and Mongia easy runs in their unbroken stand of 137.