Warks and Lancs settle for draw

Lv County Championship

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Glen Chapple

Lancashire and Warwickshire had to settle for a draw in their crucial LV= County Championship Division One clash at Aigburth

Lancashire's LV= County Championship match against Warwickshire at Liverpool ended in a draw, but only after a late flurry of wickets just failed to secure a dramatic victory for the home side.

Needing to score 290 off 75 overs, later reduced by rain to only 67, Jim Troughton's side finished on 217 for eight with Tim Ambrose defending Gary Keedy's final over and finishing on a match-saving 66 not out.

The Bears wicketkeeper shared a 68-run fifth-wicket partnership with Laurie Evans, who made a 92-ball 30 before falling to Kyle Hogg.

The stand seemed to have taken the steam out of Lancashire's push for victory, especially when Ambrose then added a further 50 for the sixth wicket with Rikki Clarke, who gave Keedy his third wicket when he edged him to Paul Horton six overs before the close.

Chris Woakes and Jeetan Patel were then both bowled by off-spinner Steven Croft in the penultimate over of the match to raise home supporters' hopes of an unlikely win, but Ambrose held firm.

Keedy finished with 3-53 and Croft 2-10.

The draw is the first in 10 matches at Aigburth since 2004 and it leaves Lancashire still in second place in the Division One table.

Warwickshire drop to fourth after Somerset's victory over Sussex, but the three teams chasing Durham are covered by only nine points.

Required to score at a rate of 3.87 runs an over at the start of their innings, Warwickshire issued a declaration of intent by opening their innings with Neil Carter - who usually occupies that position in their limited-overs games.

Carter and Varun Chopra made a brisk start either side of the showers, scoring 72 in 15.4 overs before the left-hander meekly guided Mahmood to second-slip Tom Smith when he had made 25.

That dismissal began a brief collapse which saw Warwickshire lose four wickets for 20 runs in seven overs.

The chief architect of their decline was Keedy, who completely beat Will Porterfield in the flight and accepted the return catch, before having Troughton caught by Smith at leg slip for a duck.

Sandwiched between these breakthroughs, Hogg had claimed the key wicket of Chopra, who, having batted beautifully for 46, slashed a wide delivery to Horton at first slip. That uncharacteristic dismissal leaves Chopra 38 runs short of a thousand Championship runs for the season.

In the morning session Lancashire's Hogg had given Boyd Rankin his fourth wicket of the innings when he skied him to Troughton at mid-off.

That left Clarke on a total of nine catches for the match, one short of Wally Hammond's record, set against Surrey at Cheltenham in 1928.  

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