Warwickshire face spectre of relegation after first day struggle

After a first day, in which Warwickshire’s front line batsmen struggled just as they have done all season in four-day cricket, the spectre of relegation loomed large. Glances at the score from the Aegeas bowl provided little comfort as Hampshire totted up the batting points.

The Bears were bowled out for just 219, albeit on a pitch offering variable bounce and some movement. Lancashire will be well satisfied with their day’s work but will be conscious of the need to apply themselves with the bat, something that the home side failed to do.

At the start of the day, Warwickshire left out two of the three spinners in their squad, an indication that pace was most likely to dominate; and so it proved.

Lancashire chose to put Warwickshire in to bat. They were soon rewarded when the promising Tom Bailey swung one in to Ian Westwood to trap him lbw. Deputy wicketkeeper Alex Mellor, pressed into service as an opener, played some good shots. He had progressed to 27 when Bailey struck again, inducing an edge to Liam Livingstone at first slip.

Warwickshire’s two main men, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell, looked to be re-build the innings with some sensible batting. It was Jordan Clark who broke the stand by getting Trott to edge an outswinger to Steven Croft behoind the stumps.

At the start of the afternoon, Kyle Jarvis struck a major blow when he nipped one back to trap Ian Bell lbw for 37. Jarvis was also involved in the next dismissal, which was in the way of being an assisted suicide. Sam Hain hit the ball just wide of mid-off and called for a run, but Tim Ambrose was late starting and Jarvis’s direct hit beat him.

Hain could argue that the run was there; but Ambrose is known to be carrying a leg injury so it wasn’t the wisest of choices.

Rikki Clarke tried to pull a straight ball from Jordan Clarke and was lbw. Sam Hain did his best to make up for the run out and went to his fifty early in the final session, but he became the fourth lbw victim of the day when Luke Procter trapped him in front.

Though Keith Barker and Jeetan Patel did their best to revive the innings, Warwickshire struggled to get much beyond 200 before Bailey came back to wrap up the innings.

Lancashire had nine overs to bat before the close and they were fully tested by Chris Wright, Keith Barker and Jeetan Patel. It summed up Warwickshire’s day when young batting star Haseeb Hameed edged Barker and, of all people, Rikki Clarke dropped a regulation slip catch.

To be sure, the pitch has “result” written all over it. But Warwickshire will be disappointed at the lack of application shown by their batsmen. t is increasingly looking as if the loser of this match may take the drop; and after day one, Warwickshire look favourites to taste second division cricket next year.

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