Warwickshire forgot to bring their flag from Edgbaston, which is probably symptomatic of their state of mind. Battered all day on Wednesday, they ended yesterday's second day bruised and seemingly bewildered after a volcanic performance from Glen Chapple. They will be looking with affection at the low pressure areas on today's weather charts.
A brighter, breezier morning brought more affliction as Stuart Law, who was on 150 not out overnight, took guard in a manner suggesting he was thinking of doubling, if not trebling his score; by lunchtime he was going well enough to glimpse that first target but by then Warren Hegg, who was also aware of advancing rain, had declared.
Law was left on 236 not out, his second double-century for Lancashire (out of four overall) and his highest score for the county. With Chapple he added 228 for the sixth wicket in 46 overs, the paceman reaching his second century of this summer and the third of his career.
Law seemed emotionless all through his 99 overs, as flinty a figure as Josey Wales. Chapple was the solid Northern yeoman until he passed three figures, then he went on the rampage. Neil Smith was hit for 6, 4, 6, 4 before bowling him next ball.
Nick Knight was brisk and Michael Powell watchful at the start of the reply. They had survived the new-ball assault when John Wood made one wobble to take Knight's inside edge. Mark Wagh had a hot reception from Chapple, including one ball that cannoned off the helmet. When he tried to retaliate, third slip took a juggling catch.
Peter Martin also made one seam to bowl Powell. The young guard of Ian Bell and Jamie Troughton promised a revival until the spinners appeared just before tea. Carl Hooper, in his first over, had Troughton caught behind as he played back to his off-spin.
Chapple may have had to share the morning's honours with Law, but the evening was his. In two fiery spells from the Stretford End, his pace and lift first shook up Tony Frost, while Bell, who had survived a difficult chance at long-off against Gary Keedy's left-arm spin when he had made 40, fell backwards trying to evade another bouncer and was caught off his gloves for 48. Smith, falling to Hooper, was Hegg's fifth victim.
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