Warwickshire 106 & 125-2 Lancashire 311: Laxman stands out for Lancs

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The Independent Online

The India Test batsman VVS Laxman's first century for Lancashire put the title-chasers in control of this First Division County Championship match. The 32-year-old eased his way to three figures off 152 balls as the rest of his colleagues struggled to exert any real authority against a Warwickshire side trying to stave off relegation.

Warwickshire were skittled on the first day for just 106 but replied with a spirited bowling effort to reduce Lancashire to 267 for 8 at lunch yesterday.

When the hosts were finally bowled out for 311, with Laxman out for 103, the visitors again responded with fight, this time with the bat in their second innings, to move to 125 for 2 at close. They are still 80 behind.

Lancashire set out yesterday morning with the aim of trying to get as many batting bonus points as they could in their attempts to pressurise leaders Sussex.

But they struggled to get any momentum going as Heath Streak (two for 67) and Neil Carter bowled superbly with the aid of some early swing movement.

With a first-innings deficit of 205 to make up, the Warwickshire openers Ian Westwood and Michael Powell set about the task in hand with some promise. They put on an opening stand of 60 before the left-arm spinner Gary Keedy had Powell caught at first slip by Laxman for 23. Keedy (two for 46) gained his second wicket when Westwood poked him to Paul Horton at short leg.

* The umpire Nigel Cowley was detained in hospital overnight after complaining of chest pains before play started yesterday. The Lancashire cricket manager Mike Watkinson stood at square leg until John Holder arrived as the replacement.