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  • Specsavers County Championship 4m

    Div One reports: Warwickshire duo battle to delay Lancashire

    Dom Sibley and Tim Ambrose were superb with the bat to hold up a likely Lancashire victory at Old Trafford

    The Lancashire pair put on a fight, while there was frustration for Essex and Somerset with only 13 overs played.

    Lancashire 504/8d v Warwickshire 200 & 275/6
    Essex 159 & 158/4 v Somerset 164
    Surrey 280 v 247 & 15/0 Middlesex - no play due to rain

    LANCASHIRE v WARWICKSHIRE

    Third day fifties for Dom Sibley and Tim Ambrose held up Lancashire’s bid for a Specsavers County Championship victory over Warwickshire at Emirates Old Trafford. 

    The struggling Bears have largely been outplayed in this fixture against the Division One title outsiders, but they enjoyed their best period for two and a half sessions in their second innings.

    Highlights - Lancashire v Warwickshire Day 3

    Day three of the Specsavers County Championship match at Emirates Old Trafford.

    The day started with Lancashire advancing their first-innings reply to 200 from 484 for six to 504 for eight declared, losing Liam Livingstone for 224 and captain Ryan McLaren for 21 to seamer Ryan Sidebottom.

    That left Warwickshire with a 304-run deficit at the start of their second innings midway a morning session briefly interrupted by rain, and they closed on 275 for six from 85 overs.

    Opener Sibley hit 57 off 106 balls and Ambrose 76 not out off 142. The deficit is now 29. Warwickshire started their second innings encouragingly by reaching 41 without loss at lunch.

    They then lost four afternoon wickets, including Sibley having recorded his first fifty in four-day cricket since moving from Surrey at the start of the month.

     

    Lancashire’s stand-in captain McLaren claimed two of those wickets after Jordan Clark had made the breakthrough.

    Livingstone later got Sibley, who had reached his fifty off 85 balls, caught at leg slip by Haseeb Hameed as the score fell to 117 for four in the 38th over.

    Clark had Andy Umeed (19) caught behind, leaving the score at 52 for one in the 17th over, before McLaren removed current and former captains Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell lbw for 16 and 15 in the 29th and 35th overs.

    Trott shuffled across his crease and played to leg, while Bell was undone by one that kept low as the score fell to 111 for three.

    Fifth-wicket pair Ambrose and Matthew Lamb then shared 66 inside 26 overs either side of tea.

    Their alliance was broken, however, by underused leg-spinner Matthew Parkinson when he had Lamb caught at slip for 26, leaving the Bears at 183 for five in the 63rd over with the best part of 23 remaining in the day.

    Ambrose later reached his fifty off 98 balls with four fours, by which time the deficit was below 100.

    Parkinson, bowling in tandem with fellow spinner Livingstone, struck again in the 75th over when he had Manchester-born Keith Barker lbw reverse sweeping as the Bears fell to 229 for six.

    The South African seamer took the second new ball five overs before close.

    Earlier, Sidebottom had Livingstone caught at short mid-wicket and McLaren caught at deep mid-wicket before rain delayed play for approximately half an hour and brought about the Red Rose declaration.

    Warwickshire are now well placed to at least avoid a fifth innings defeat of the season, while there is a slim chance they could even secure a draw should the Manchester weather help them on day four.

    Jeetan Patel will begin the day alongside Ambrose unbeaten on 18.

    ESSEX v SOMERSET

    Nick Browne and Adam Wheater batted Essex into a strong position during the 13 overs’ play possible on a rain-hit third day at Chelmsford. The fourth-wicket pair extended Essex’s lead over Somerset from 112 to 152 before Browne’s 198-ball vigil ended just before play was brought to a premature halt soon after noon.
     
    Tim Groenewald arrowed a ball past Browne’s forward-defensive prod to dismiss the left-hander for 83 and 19 runs short of reaching 1,000 first-class runs for the third successive season. He had hit 12 fours and a six.
     
    He had been joined by Wheater the previous afternoon with Essex on a precarious 39 for three. Together the pair put on 118 in 45 overs to take Essex into a potentially winning position as they seek their fifth Specsavers County Championship victory in a row.
     
    Wheater was unbeaten on 58 from 135 balls and playing beautifully when the rain set in for the day. Play was finally abandoned at 4pm. 
     
    It has been a dispiriting summer for the batsman-wicketkeeper who returned from a spell at Hampshire a year ago. Six of his previous eight Championship innings had finished in single-figures, but he reached his second half-century from 118 balls with his seventh four.
     
    Wheater eased Craig Overton through the covers for his first boundary of the day, and then went on to the back foot to pick up a second square on the off-side. Another well-time cover-drive off Paul van Meekeren brought up his fifty.
     
    It also took the fourth-wicket stand to 100. When it ended, five overs later, it was the biggest partnership of the match by some 40 runs.

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