Warwickshire v Surrey: Bears captain Ian Bell leads fightback at Edgbaston
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Edgbaston (day three):|
|Warwickshire 332: Westwood 153 & 162-4: Bell 68*, Westwood 52|
|Surrey 437: Stoneman 123, Sangakkara 105, Sibley 56, Borthwick 50; Patel 3-74|
|Surrey 8 pts, Warwickshire 4 pts|
|Warwickshire lead Surrey by 57 runs with 6 wickets remaining|
Warwickshire captain Ian Bell led a spirited fightback with his best first-class score in more than a year to help take the beleaguered Bears' game with Surrey into a fourth day at Edgbaston.
The prospect of a third straight defeat for the bottom side remains very real as they lead by only 57 runs on 162-4.
But with Bell, still an England hopeful at 34, well set at the crease on 68, they can yet save this game.
Kumar Sangakkara (105) had earlier made a 58th first-class ton in Surrey's 437.
But he only added seven runs to his overnight 98 before edging Keith Barker to Rikki Clarke at second slip.
It was Dom Sibley (56) who did most to earn the visitors their 105-run first-innings lead, sharing a stand of 48 with Ben Foakes, who pulled Oliver Hannon-Dalby to long leg, and then adding a further 40 with Sam Curran (32).
Bears off-spinner Jeetan Patel (3-74) removed Curran (32), Gareth Batty and Mark Footitt in the space of 22 balls before Chris Wright had Jade Dernbach caught at mid-off.
In reply, the Bears were still 45 adrift at tea after Jade Dernbach broke through in his first over with a superb ball which Will Porterfield edged behind, before having Jonathan Trott caught at second slip for a duck.
But, for the second time in the match, first-innings centurion Ian Westwood came to the Bears' rescue, digging in to add 68 in 25 overs with Bell.
Westwood eventually edged Tom Curran behind, but his return to the team after missing the first two games of the season with a broken foot has still brought him match haul of 205 runs from 519 minutes' defiance against one of the country's best attacks.
Much now depends on Bell, whose half-century was his highest first-class score since his 174 in the Bears' opening game against Hampshire last season.
Warwickshire captain Ian Bell told BBC WM:
"Surrey are in a really good place. They played some really good cricket again. You always look back at games and the little one-per-centers. We should have got 400 in our first innings and maybe could have bowled a touch better.
"But we are fighting and that's all I can ask. We haven't seen anything like our best cricket in this little block of three Championship games but it is only the start.
"This is our best performance of our season, without a shadow of doubt. Now we have to scrap again. We have to bat for a good period of time and get as many runs ahead as we can."
Surrey batsman Dom Sibley told BBC Radio London:
"We would probably have liked a few more runs so they have would have had to score more to go past us, but we are in a good position to try to win the game.
"I'm feeling good. I had a good pre-season and haven't quite converted that into big scores. It was nice to get some runs but disappointing to leave a few out there as well.
"There is going to be some variable bounce so hopefully the bowlers can bowl pretty straight and will get their rewards."