County Championship: Keith Barker inspires Warwickshire as Lancashire buckle

Lancashire captain Steven Croft fell five runs short of a fifth half-century of the season
Lancashire captain Steven Croft fell five runs short of a fifth Championship half-century of the season
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Edgbaston, day two
Warwickshire 219: Hain 52; Bailey 4-52 & 12-0
Lancashire 152: Croft 45, Clark 34; Barker 4-30
Warwickshire (4 pts) lead Lancashire (3 pts) by 79 runs

Keith Barker took 4-30 against his native Lancashire as Warwickshire seized control on day two in the potential Division One relegation tussle at Edgbaston.

In a game that would see the losers go down if Hampshire win, Lancs could only make 152 in reply to the Bears' 219.

Resuming on 12-0, the visitors quickly slumped to 39-4 as four wickets went down for four runs inside 35 balls.

Having carved a 67-run first-innings lead, Warwickshire then reached 12-0.

An early finish because of bad light trimmed a couple of hours off an overcast day, but Lancashire now look up against it - and the most likely of the three relegation battlers to go down.

After Haseeb Hameed's dismissal for 17 had triggered Lancashire's morning collapse, the first of three lbw decisions, visiting captain Steven Croft led a rescue with a stand of 40 for the fifth wicket with Liam Livingstone (21).

But Livingstone departed in the last over before lunch, caught at short mid-wicket by Manchester-born Barker off Oliver Hannon-Dalby, then sent on his way with a comment from Jonathan Trott after initially standing his ground to query whether the ball had actually carried.

Croft (45) then shared the first half-century stand of the match with Jordan Clark (34), 55 for the sixth wicket - but from 134-5, they lost their last five wickets for just 18 runs.

New Zealand spinner Jeetan Patel bowled Arron Lilley when he mistimed an advance down the pitch before claiming his 66th Championship scalp of the season when Tom Bailey flicked him to leg slip.

But Barker was the chief destroyer, three times making a mess of the stumps as he clean bowled Croft, Clark and Kyle Jarvis.

Warwickshire fast bowler Keith Barker told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire:

"It came out all right for me and has done all season. It was very important that we bowled as well as we could and gave it everything.

"Only half the job is done so far. Now we need to follow it up with the bat and it's quite hard to score on that wicket.

"With the rain around it will be hard for them. We have just got to scrap hard for every run. We know we have to win."

Lancashire skipper Steven Croft told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"We were in quite a comfortable position and had dragged it back well from this morning, but it was disappointing how we finished off the innings.

"It's a real scrap, but it is still in our hands because they've not got too far away from us. We don't want to leave it down to the weather or other results.

"They bowled better than us. Only when we got them two or three down did we switch on. We were a little bit slow out of the blocks, but they kept the pressure on all the way through."

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