Wagh adds to Lancashire's troubles with fine century

Warwickshire 495-9 v Lancashire

Things were so bad for injury-stricken Lancashire that they had to send for emergency overseas aid. With four players injured and another three on England duty, the erstwhile Championship favourites drafted in India's Dinesh Mongia, whose registration was confirmed only yesterday morning.

Things were so bad for injury-stricken Lancashire that they had to send for emergency overseas aid. With four players injured and another three on England duty, the erstwhile Championship favourites drafted in India's Dinesh Mongia, whose registration was confirmed only yesterday morning.

He replaced Carl Hooper, who has fractured his right thumb. Counties are allowed to replace an injured overseas player with another, provided that his absence will be of at least three weeks.

Mongia has played 48 one-day internationals and still has Test aspirations, but last weekend he was making 124 runs for Little Stoke against Meir Heath in the Staffordshire Cup. He played for Staffordshire against Lancashire in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy.

In the circumstances, the pattern of the opening day against the Division One leaders was hardly surprising. Lancashire's season seems on the brink of collapse after five defeats in a row in all competitions. A win here is essential.

Warwickshire have won nine out of 12. Little wonder that a frown crossed Warren Hegg's brow when Nick Knight won the toss and chose to bat.

The Stratford club ground, nestling by the River Avon in the shadow of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, has short boundaries, which Warwickshire's prolific opening batsmen were soon breaching with ominous regularity, to the delight of a crowd witnessing the venue's first Championship match.

Knight and Mark Wagh had shared century partnerships in three consecutive Championship matches and needed fewer than 28 overs to add another, Wagh prospering after a drop by Stuart Law at slip on 44.

Lancashire were grateful for small mercies. Knight, whose last eight visits to the crease had yielded 846 runs, was lbw to Gary Keedy on 53, and Ian Bell, one short of a half-century, sliced to backward point, a deserved success for Steven Crook, the Australian-born seamer, in his third Championship game, who had been bowling when Wagh escaped.

It was scant consolation that Law, still at backward point, should later make amends. By then, Wagh had 167, his season's first century, 120 in boundaries.

Jim Troughton, when Law moved to silly point, and Dougie Brown, a first victim for Mongia's left-arm spin, went cheaply, but Brad Hogg and Jonathan Trott re-established home dominance with a half-century each.

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