• Specsavers County Championship 3m

    Warks ensure survival with stunning win

    Warwickshire will play Division One cricket next year after a tremendous 237-run victory over Lancashire.

    Warwickshire will play Division One cricket next year after a tremendous 237-run victory over Lancashire. Eventually, the Red Rose learned of their safety too, courtesy of Durham's fine win against Hampshire which relegated Hants to Division Two.

    Chasing a notional victory target of 347 at Edgbaston, Lancashire were bowled out for 109 early on the final afternoon, their batting pared away by relentlessly accurate bowling led by Rikki Clarke (10.5-3-20-4), Jeetan Patel (24-11-46-3), and Chris Wright (14-8-8-2).

    By banking their first home championship win of the season at the last attempt, Warwickshire preserved the First Division status they have held unbroken since 2009.

    Warks captain Ian Bell was delighted with his side's display:  "It was probably our best team performance of the season and to do that when you need it is great, though it is also frustrating in a way because it shows what our potential is. To escape relegation is great but we are at the wrong end of the table.

    "It was a scrappy game of cricket but, in terms of fight, and the way we went about our cricket, one to 11, it was the best we have played this season. It was a massive team performance.

    "But it was our first championship win of the season at Edgbaston and that doesn't help when you are trying to finish high up the table. It's important that, in your home games, you not only don't lose but you win some games as well."

    Lancashire resumed on the final morning on 28 for three, needing to execute a massive rearguard action, and they started in determined fashion as overnight pair Haseeb Hameed and nightwatchman Simon Kerrigan survived for 50 minutes.

    But Wright made the vital breakthrough when Hameed (27, 78 balls, four fours) was brilliantly caught by Clarke, low to his left, at second slip.

    Clarke then struck with his first ball from the Pavilion End, which Croft bat-padded to Sam Hain at short-leg. When Liam Livingstone edged Patel to Jonathan Trott at second slip, Lancashire were in deep trouble.

    Kerrigan showed exactly the sort of resolve his team needed, batting throughout the morning session for ten runs, but his excellent resistance was terminated quickly after lunch. Having made ten from 117 balls (no fours, no sixes) the nightwatchman edged Patel to Clarke at slip.

    Clarke then delivered pacy, full-length inswingers to send Jordan Clark's off-stump flying and rattle Tom Bailey's middle and off-stumps to leave Lancashire last pair Arron Lilley and Kyle Jarvis with 58 overs to survive.

    Lilley smote Patel for three fours and a six in an over which cost 20 but when Jarvis poked Clarke to Ian Westwood at silly point, Warwickshire's inconsistent season ended on a high and in safety - while Lancashire settled in for that tense wait, which eventually went in their favour.

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