Barker builds on Woakes' work
Keith Barker stepped out of the shadow of Chris Woakes as title-chasing Warwickshire battled to stamp out stubborn Hampshire resistance in their LV= County Championship clash at Edgbaston.
With Woakes unable to add to his seven wickets in the first innings, it was Barker who made inroads as bottom-of-the-table Hampshire cleared a deficit of 109 and claimed a tenuous lead of 54 by reaching 163 for four.
The left-arm paceman dismissed openers Liam Dawson and Jimmy Adams and came back to break a threatening partnership of 67 by Michael Carberry and Neil McKenzie late on the second day.
Although nowhere near their 523 together against Yorkshire earlier in the month, they were beginning to worry Warwickshire until Carberry was out for 49.
An lbw decision from the third ball of a new spell gave Barker close-of-play figures of 3-47 and Boyd Rankin landed an important blow shortly before the close when McKenzie was caught behind for 45.
The momentum for Warwickshire’s championship challenge has spilled over from last season, when they avoided relegation by winning their last three games.
Woakes took 23 wickets in that dash to safety and the all-rounder has again been at the forefront this summer, although an injury and an England call-up meant he missed three of seven victories so far.
Their chances of making it eight were improved by a sizeable contribution in which he followed up his career-best bowling on the first day by making 64 as the lower order rescued two points from an uneven batting display.
Having faltered at 113 for six when Jim Troughton and Rikki Clarke fell in quick succession this morning, Warwickshire again relied on their team ethic with more than half of their runs coming from the last four wickets.
Tim Ambrose compiled a half-century for the third match in a row and Barker’s 28 was another essential element in the recovery.
Hampshire will soon have a hang-up about their meetings with Woakes. Aside from a substantial record in his primary role with the ball, he has yet to lose his wicket to one of their bowlers.
When he was run out by Chris Wood’s left-handed throw from mid-off, it was his first dismissal in five innings after making 353 runs - a tally which includes two of his four first-class centuries.
With the ball nibbling around early on, Ambrose, who made 55, shared a seventh-wicket stand of 73 before he flashed at Sean Ervine.
The enterprising Barker then put on 43 with Woakes and it was only when Hampshire took the new ball that James Tomlinson and Wood wrapped up the innings.