Taylor offers Windies hope
Jerome Taylor provided a timely boost to West Indies' spirits with a hostile burst of fast bowling against the Lions to announce his readiness for next week's first Test against England.
The arrival of the Jamaica fast bowler on English soil had been delayed after he hurt his hip in a car accident in the Caribbean, provoking fears he would be unable to ensure his match sharpness before next Wednesday's opening npower Test at Lord's.
In his absence the tourists have lacked bite in their attack during warm-up matches in Leicester and Chelmsford while their batting has failed to impress after being dismissed for 146 against Essex and 203 on the second day at Derby.
But Taylor used his experience from a brief stint with Leicestershire two years ago to brilliant effect to claim three wickets with his first 12 balls of the tour, plunging the Lions into trouble at 13 for three before they recovered to reach 143 for six at the end of a second day restricted to 68 overs by rain.
Taylor's hostility immediately lifted the tourists' spirits after a difficult first fortnight of their tour as they await the arrival of captain Chris Gayle and strike bowler Fidel Edwards from Indian Premier League duty in South Africa.
He took just two balls to make an impression, prompting Lions captain Rob Key to play around his pads and fall lbw to a quick, swinging delivery for the second ball of their innings.
Taylor, who claimed five wickets to help bowl England out for 51 during the first Test at Sabina Park in February, also mixed accuracy with hostility when he dumped new batsman Ian Bell on the floor with a vicious bouncer which the Warwickshire batsman did well to avoid.
He then claimed two wickets in three balls in his next over, opener Stephen Moore fending off a short ball to second slip before Jonathan Trott drove a wide delivery behind.
Bell, desperate to play a significant innings after missing out on next week's Test squad, looked as comfortable at the crease as any of the Lions' batsmen once he overcame a shaky start which included a leading edge through gully for four off Taylor to get off the mark.
His composure helped him combine with Samit Patel, another player with a point to prove after he was again overlooked by the selectors on fitness grounds for the World Twenty20 squad and one-day squad to face West Indies.
Their partnership was broken when Bell was unluckily given lbw to seamer David Bernard to a delivery which appeared to be missing leg stump.
Patel seemed on course to for a major innings until he top-edged an attempted pull to the deep having hit a boundary with an identical shot from the previous delivery.
It took a battling 49 from Warwickshire wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose, which included eight fours in 16 balls either side of tea, to steady the Lions and guide them to within 60 runs of parity by the close.
Taylor's impressive display had earlier been matched by emerging Warwickshire youngster Chris Woakes, although at a lesser pace, when he claimed two more wickets to finish with a career-best 6-43.
The 20-year-old seamer had grabbed 4-26 overnight as West Indies slumped to 76 for four and added the prized scalp of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Brendan Nash to his tally during his first spell of the day.
Those dismissals left the tourists reeling on 91 for six but captain Key followed his pre-match promise that he would "give everyone a fair crack at it" by withdrawing Woakes after his initial six-over spell to share the bowling workload.
It allowed West Indies to add a further 112 runs with Bernard adding a useful 58 before falling lbw to leg-spinner Adil Rashid to end their innings shortly after lunch.