Warren maintains form

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The Independent Online

For several confused minutes county cricket's desperate search for a new audience seemed to have born fruit yesterday when a long crocodile of Japanese tourists arrived at the gates of Old Trafford before the start of play.

Had Chris Schofield's mystical leg-spin made him a household name in Tokyo? Alas, and inevitably, the name on their lips was that of David Beckham and they were duly directed over the road towards the Manchester United superstore.

Had they stayed they would have seen Russell Warren, born in Northampton, scoring his second big championship hundred of the season, and in so doing ensuring an almost certain draw.

Resuming on 63 with the visitors needing another 233 simply to avoid the follow-on, Warren immediately made his intentions clear by sweeping Gary Yates into the seats in front of the pavilion. The off-spinner did at least catch Warren's partner Toby Bailey, who had gloved an Andy Flintoff bouncer to slip.

Flintoff's effort aside, however, Lancashire were toothless and half-hearted. John Crawley rotated his bowlers restlessly, never appearing confident in their ability to break through on a flat track.

The spinning trio of Schofield, Yates and Gary Keedy found some occasional turn, but by rarely pitching two consecutive balls on the same spot, never exerted any sort of pressure on the batsmen.

The result was that Warren, who, despite a somewhat disinterested manner at the crease, has a wonderful eye and gives the ball a mighty thump, appeared utterly untroubled.

Graeme Swann's demise shortly before lunch, edging a Wood delivery that actually deviated, was Lancashire's last success until the follow-on was a memory, the weary Warren playing a Schofield delivery on to his stumps six short of a double hundred.

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