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  • Specsavers County Championship 2m

    Bell declaration sets up Edgbaston thriller

    Highlights of day three at Edgbaston when Lancashire start the final day on 28 for three in pursuit of a target of 347 to beat Warwickshire.

    A tense conclusion to the Specsavers County Championship season awaits at Edgbaston where Lancashire will start the final day on 28 for three in pursuit of a target of 347 to beat Warwickshire.

    Both sides know that defeat would, if Hampshire beat Durham at The Ageas Bowl, send them down to Division Two.

    And Lancashire in particular were left hoping from assistance from Paul Collingwood's side after the balance of power tilted strongly in Warwickshire's favour on the third day in Birmingham as a solid batting effort lifted their second innings to 279 for seven.

    Ian Bell's declaration after tea left Lancashire with an awkward 18 overs batting on the third evening and the visitors lost Rob Jones, Luke Procter and Karl Brown. Without a dogged rearguard action, or some assistance from Durham, a Lancashire season which started so strongly could well culminate in the drop.

    With the pressure on after day three Warwickshire's leading bowler Jeetan Patel admits he's enjoying the game: "At Edgbaston the morning and afternoon sessions are always the best ones to bowl so hopefully we can come back tomorrow and ask the good questions we have been asking."

    "It has been tense out there with a lot of chat about a lot of things. There is pressure but that's exciting, that's why we play this game."

    Warwickshire resumed on the third morning on 12 without loss and soon lost Alex Mellor, lbw to Tom Bailey, but Mellor proved the only batsman in the top nine not to reach 20.

    Ian Westwood and Jonathan Trott added 61 in 14 overs before Westwood (34, 79 balls) fell lbw to Jordan Clark's fourth ball of the day. Trott (42, 62 balls), played on to spinner Arron Lilley just before lunch but the clatter of wickets which Lancashire needed to force was prevented by Bell and Sam Hain who added 38.

    And after Bell (31, 52 balls) chopped on to become Kyle Jarvis's 50th championship victim of the season and Hain (30, 36 balls) was lbw to Lilley, further small but significant partnerships were lodged.

    Tim Ambrose (59 not out, 114 balls) added 44 with Rikki Clarke (20, 53 balls), 38 with Keith Barker (23, 34 balls) and an unbroken 45 with Jeetan Patel who twice cleared the ropes on the way to an unbeaten 23.

    Lancashire's pursuit of 347 started badly when Barker's seventh ball removed Jones courtesy of the 13th lbw dismissal of the match. The 14th followed when Procter offered no shot to Patel and when Brown edged Chris Wright to wicketkeeper Ambrose, the roots of the Red Rose top order had been plucked out. 

    They desperately need to settle down more tomorrow and will look to 19-year-old Haseeb Hameed, who closed on 11 from 49 balls, to play the lead role.

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