Bell crafts second ton as leaders race away

<preform>Warwickshire 410 & 191-4 Lancashire 412</preform>
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Ian bell struck his second century of the match to follow-up Glen Chapple's second of the season in this First Division Championship match here yesterday.

Ian bell struck his second century of the match to follow-up Glen Chapple's second of the season in this First Division Championship match here yesterday.

Bell, who made 112 in the first innings, reached his second hundred from 147 balls with 12 fours and a six to become the first Warwickshire batsman to perform the feat since David Hemp against Southampton at Hampshire in 1997.

Lancashire had edged ahead in their first innings thanks to a partnership of 168 in 29 overs between Chapple (112) and Chris Schofield (99) who just missed out on his maiden first-class century.

However, a late clatter of wickets saw their lead restricted to just two runs before Bell again took centre stage to reinforce his international credentials and continue his run of high scores. His previous three innings have brought 155, 96 not out and 112. But, with Warwickshire enjoying a clear lead in the Championship race, they are unlikely to offer an attainable target on the final day, although two late wickets for Gary Keedy raised the possibility of a positive result.

Lancashire lost Iain Sutcliffe (72) early but Schofield, playing his first Championship game of the season, and Chapple attacked in great style. They raced along at five runs an over as 179 was added in the morning. Schofield looked set for a ton until he played an airy drive at Neil Carter and was held at slip by Mark Wagh to leave the score on 358 for 5.

Chapple did not miss his century and it came from just 82 balls, the second fastest ton of the season. He reached three figures by driving Dougie Brown over mid-off and promptly celebrated by depositing the same bowler back over his head for six, his third maximum. However, when Chapple fenced limply to slip off Brad Hogg (409 for 6) the tail failed as Mark Wagh took 3 for 86 and Hogg finished with 4 for 107.

If the game was going to progress Lancashire had to take quick wickets and they were given an early boost when Nick Knight drove Dominic Cork's first ball to Keedy at point to leave the visitors on 3 for 1. Wagh again fell after getting a start when he edged a good ball from Keedy to the wicketkeeper and the left-arm spinner removed Jonathon Trott (41) and Michael Powell (0), both caught at slip, to leave Warwickshire on 191 for 4 with a lead of 189.

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