Chilton leads Lancashire chase

Warwickshire 449 Lancashire 278-4

Warwickshire learned to their cost yesterday that, if you fail to get Mark Chilton early, you struggle to get him at all.

The tall Lancashire opener underlined his reputation as one of the County Championship's best converters of a good start as bat continued to dominate ball.

In compiling his sixth century of the season in four-day cricket - five more than he managed in 29 innings last summer - he also took his First Division run tally past 1,000 for the first time.

There have been a substantial number of failures along the way and his batting has an all-or-little element to it. But he showed none of his customary early vulnerability in leading his side on a powerful reply to Warwickshire's 449 all out.

He did not offer a chance in 69 overs of high concentration and came up only four runs short of his Championship-best when perishing for 121 shortly before stumps were drawn at 278 for 4.

Against an ordinary attack, he struck 20 fours from 192 deliveries and, with second-wicket partner Mal Loye, posted the game's second 200-plus stand.

Then, amid a late clatter, fellow centurion Loye holed out at long-off against off-spinner Mark Wagh, who had nightwatchman Gary Keedy smartly caught at silly point by Jonathan Trott four balls later.

Having toiled for 59 overs for a second breakthrough after Iain Sutcliffe's early fall, Warwickshire seized a fourth wicket in the next over when Chilton shouldered arms to Alan Richardson and was bowled off stump.

Loye, who faced 202 balls in hitting two sixes and 10 fours, survived a difficult slip chance to Nick Knight on 36 and was missed by Wagh from a run out opportunity on 48.

But Warwickshire were uninspiring with the ball, particularly Melvyn Betts - which is why he is sweating over a new contract. If this proves to be his last Edgbaston appearance, he will much prefer to be remembered for his swashbuckling 103-ball knock of 73 than the 13 wayward overs he sent down for 70.

Earlier, Dougie Brown returned with a runner and advanced to 140 not out but his calf strain then kept him in the pavilion.

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