Lancashire on top in relegation battle

Bailey- four wicket haul
Bailey- four wicket haul
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Lancashire’s bowlers piled the pressure on Warwickshire on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship relegation battle at Edgbaston.

With Hampshire making strong progress at The Ageas Bowl, it looks increasingly likely that whichever side loses this match will go down. And Warwickshire are looking vulnerable after they were bowled out for 219, taking just a single batting point.

They are far from out of the game - the ball has swung and there is some assistance for the spinners. But Lancashire completed their solid day’s work by reaching 14 without loss at the close and three days after the euphoria of their Royal London Cup triumph at Lord’s, Warwickshire’s supporters were left anxious by another patchy day’s work from their team.

Lancashire owe their ascendancy to bowling of sustained accuracy, led by Tom Bailey (four for 52) and Jordan Clark (three for 20). Only Sam Hain (52, 116 balls, five fours) reached 50 and, as the bowlers maintained the pressure, no partnership got that far.

Lancashire chose to bowl and started perfectly when Ian Westwood was lbw to Bailey’s fourth ball.

Alex Mellor and Jonathan Trott added 44 and, after Mellor (27, 40 balls) edged Bailey to first slip, Trott and Ian Bell put on 37. But Clark’s dismissal of Trott (25, 87 balls), edging an outswinger just before lunch, set the tone of the day - Lancashire regularly striking just as a partnership seemed to take root.

Having made 83 for three in the first session, Warwickshire made 82 for three in the second. Bell (37, 87 balls) was lbw to Kyle Jarvis, then four balls later came a needless run out. Hain called for a tight single which Tim Ambrose failed to make as Jarvis landed a direct-hit from mid-off.

Hain and Rikki Clarke eked 37 from 15 overs before Clarke was lbw, pulling, to Clark. Hain and Keith Barker defied to add 40, then both fell in the space of ten balls.

Hain’s 152-minute resistance ended when Luke Procter won the fourth lbw decision of the innings. Barker was bowled by the impressive Clark.

Jeetan Patel and Chris Wright saw their side to a batting point but Wright feathered an attempted pull at Bailey who rounded off the innings when Patel lofted a catch to deep cover.

Lancashire’s young openers Rob Jones and Haseeb Hameed, reached the close unparted, though the latter was dropped on two by Clarke at second slip off Barker.