Cricket: Moles and Penney rise to the challenge

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Lancashire 392

Warwickshire 350-3

ANDY MOLES, with a career average of 40 but rarely a whisper of England selection to inspire him, subdued Wasim Akram in the latter's last Championship game for Lancashire before joining Pakistan's tour of Sri Lanka.

Trevor Penney, the 24-year- old England-qualified Zimbabwean, followed Moles' lead with his sixth first-class hundred here yesterday.

Penney, a devastating cover fielder, has not always been comfortable against short- pitched bowling, but played firmly down the line and resisted Wasim, who was in a turbulent mood. A half-century blossomed into a hundred from 124 balls, with 16 fours and two sixes, as first-innings parity approached.

Moles, having recovered from a broken arm and appendicitis this season, has long been renowned as a metaphorical fighter, punching his well- chronicled and considerable weight. Wasim, running in from only seven paces, gave Moles the eye and more than a few short deliveries. Moles answered him with a straight bat, a stern look and a few well-chosen boundaries.

Moles made 87, with 13 fours from 222 balls, in more than four and a half hours as Warwickshire made saving the follow-on their initial target. Gary Yates dismissed him, caught at slip off the arm ball.

It was a long, attritional day, even for Wasim, who left the field briefly with more than an hour remaining. He returned to bowl spin, having softened up Roger Twose with several bouncers before spearing in an off-stump yorker. An opening stand of 111 gave way to a half- century partnership for the second wicket.

Dominic Ostler succumbed more gently, being bowled around his legs attempting to sweep Yates. Penney and Moles absorbed most of the short stuff from Wasim with a fair amount of body language from the umpires, notably Mervyn Kitchen.

Penney marched on regardless, emphasising his value long after Yates and Glen Chapple had shared a half-century last-wicket partnership before Lancashire's morning dismissal on a pitch likely to help the spinners.