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Spinners, Jennings carve out strong Lancashire position but rain looms

Warwickshire lose last five wickets for 29 to concede hefty first-innings deficit

Keaton Jennings pushed Lancashire's second innings along  •  Getty Images

Keaton Jennings pushed Lancashire's second innings along  •  Getty Images

Lancashire 327 and 182 for 6 (Jennings 64*) lead Warwickshire 212 (Rhodes 82) by 297 runs
Lancashire were hoping for kind weather on the last day of their LV=Insurance County Championship match with Warwickshire after they took charge on the third day at Edgbaston.
An incisive burst of spin-bowling followed by patient batting has engineered a strong position for the Red Rose. After bowling the home side out for 212, for a first-innings lead of 115, Lancashire closed a rain-shortened third day on 182 for 6 - 297 ahead as Keaton Jennings constructed an unbeaten 64 from 174 balls.
On a slow pitch which has never been easy for batting, the visitors were poised to put Warwickshire under pressure on the final day but need the grim weather forecast to be wrong. The dark clouds ever present at Edgbaston this week remain likely to have the final say.
That would be frustrating for Jennings' side who finally forced the match forward in its seventh session after the preceding six had advanced at various degrees of slow. After Warwickshire resumed on the third day on 179 for 5, the Red Rose deployed their spinners, partly because the light was so poor, and it proved a highly productive move as the last five wickets fell for 29 runs in 88 balls.
The catalyst for the collapse was an indiscrete reverse-sweep by Dan Mousley (47 off 97 balls) straight to slip off Jack Morley. The left-arm spinner followed that by having Michael Burgess adjudged caught at leg slip before Luke Wells removed Danny Briggs, caught off the face of the bat at short leg.
Warwickshire squandered their last two wickets as Olly Hannon-Dalby was run out pursuing a single that didn't exist and Chris Rushworth, batting with a runner due to a hamstring injury, charged at Wells and was stumped by yards. Suddenly, after two finely balanced days, Lancashire had seized a meaty lead 115.
Batting remained tricky when they went in again and Wells' hitherto happy morning took a dive when he fell lbw to Hannon-Dalby's third ball. Josh Bohannon came closest to fluency in a 40-ball 25 which ended when he chipped Hannon-Dalby to substitute fielder Marques Ackerman at midwicket but Jennings dropped anchor deep, going into lunch with just a single from 42 balls.
The skipper remained entrenched throughout the afternoon while partners came and went. Phil Salt nicked a pull at Ed Barnard. Daryl Mitchell skied Mir Hamza to give Ackerman his second catch. When George Bell nicked Briggs behind it was 83 for 5 and Warwickshire, despite the absence of Rushworth, were fighting back hard.
Still the Jennings anchor remained and first-innings century-maker George Balderson settled alongside him to reassert the Red Rose. Jennings posted a 163-ball half-century in a partnership of 92 in 26 overs which looked ready to grow much further until Balderson self-destructed. He set off for a single when his drive was parried by bowler Briggs and, rightly sent back by Jennings, was beaten by Sam Hain's throw from extra cover.
With the lead approaching 300, Lancashire had just started to seek acceleration when rain arrived to lop off the last 20 overs. That lost time, with probably more to follow, is likely to thwart the Red Rose victory bid.

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