Prince sets the standard for struggling Lancs
Lancashire’s out-of-form batsmen followed the first-innings example of Ashwell Prince to hold up Warwickshire’s push for victory on the third day of their LV= County Championship match at Edgbaston.
Prince’s unbeaten 87 failed to save Lancashire from being made to follow on 360 runs in arrears after they were dismissed for 197 midway through the afternoon.
Yet Paul Horton and Karl Brown applied themselves more diligently second time around with a second-wicket stand of 89, which helped Lancashire to 122 for three when bad light halted play nine overs early and took the game into a fourth day.
Brown fell in sight of his second fifty of the season, caught behind playing loosely at Chris Wright, but Horton completed his first half-century since Lancashire won the title in a last-day run-chase at Taunton last September.
It was a day of attritional cricket and Lancashire made Warwickshire work harder for their wickets than they had on the second evening when they slipped to 61 for five.
The follow-on target of 408 always looked remote but a batting bonus point should have been achievable for the Red Rose.
However, they missed out on one for the fourth time in six matches as Prince ran out of partners.
Gareth Cross fell carelessly when he clipped Chris Woakes to short midwicket and Ajmal Shahzad was brilliantly taken off Jeetan Patel by Warwickshire captain Jim Troughton running back from mid-on. Troughton got both hands to the ball, dropped it and then held on one-handed at the third attempt to complete a remarkable catch.
Lancashire captain Glen Chapple gave Prince solid support for a spell, but was then caught behind hooking when Woakes returned after lunch.
Prince attacked and lifted former New Zealand off-spinner Patel for his only six over long-on.
But Patel wrapped up the resistance when he had Simon Kerrigan caught behind and Gary Keedy lbw with successive balls to leave Prince stranded 13 short of his first century of the season.
Woakes struck early in Lancashire’s second innings when Stephen Moore edged him to Varun Chopra at first slip but that proved to be the final breakthrough for almost 30 overs.
Brown was more fluent but Horton showed signs of regaining form by passing 30 for the first time in the championship this season.
The pair appeared in little trouble but Wright’s extra pace in deteriorating light accounted for Brown, and Prince went in the next over when he drove loosely at Patel and edged to Rikki Clarke at slip.
Prince was furious with himself as he trudged back to the pavilion, but Horton cut Patel for his 10th boundary to reach a 103-ball fifty before the light faded.