Woakes roars back to maul Lancashire

Warwickshire 557-6 dec Lancashire 61-5

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The Independent Online

Lancashire's woeful start to the season shows little sign of improving. Unable to mount a meaningful fightback after Warwickshire's dominance of the opening day, they ended the second day already facing a damage-limitation exercise as Warwickshire's enthusiastic bowling attack, bolstered by the return of Chris Woakes, scented blood.

Woakes, whose progress in international cricket would surely be more advanced but for a number of injury problems, had not played since damaging ankle ligaments in March.

His confidence nicely reinforced by hitting half-a-dozen boundaries in an unbeaten 43 before his side declared on 557 for 6, the 23-year-old joined a Warwickshire attack already in fine form and took a wicket with only his 10th ball.

He claimed his second wicket in the penultimate over, pinning Luke Procter in front with an in-swinger, to leave Lancashire 61 for 5.

Lancashire's problems were not limited to dealing with Woakes, however. By the time he had Karl Brown caught off the glove with a ball that spat off a length, Lancashire had already lost opener Paul Horton, leg before to a full-length delivery from the in-form left-armer Keith Barker and were 32 for 2. That became 40 for 4 as Barker's new-ball partner Chris Wright took two wickets in four balls, beating Stephen Moore for pace with a ball that tore off his off stump, then having Steven Croft caught behind with one that packed as much venom as the delivery that did for Brown.

Lancashire face an enormous task to save the match and avoid a second defeat in a month against the rivals they pipped to the Championship title just last year. They need somehow to reach 408 merely to avoid the follow-on after Warwickshire made them toil for more than five sessions in the field.

The visitors were severely hampered by the injury affecting Glen Chapple, their captain, who directed operations on the field but was unable to bowl after suffering a side strain on the first day.

In his absence, spinners Gary Keedy and Simon Kerrigan shouldered a heavy burden, getting through 99 overs between them, but while Kerrigan, bearing the biggest workload of his career so far, took three wickets, neither of the left-armers was able to do much more than slow Warwickshire's progress from time to time.

But with Rikki Clarke, who had an escape on 57 when Kerrigan just failed to grip a difficult caught and bowled chance, hitting four sixes in his unbeaten 123, such restrictions were only temporary.

Clarke put on 147 for the sixth wicket with Tim Ambrose, who was within sight of his first century for three years when he chipped to short midwicket for 96.