LV County Championship - Division One Warickshire 490 (AGR Loudon 104, JO Troughton 100, DL Maddy 71, H Streak 55no; G Keedy 5-159) & 113-6 (Keedy 4-39) v Lancashire 330 (LD Sutton 111, PJ Horton 76; DW Steyn 4-70)
Dale Steyn and Jimmy Anyon moved Warwickshire into a position of dominance in the post-lunch session before Gary Keedy’s off-spinning guile left the opening championship match of the season in the balance.
Dismissing Lancashire in mid-afternoon for 333, the home side achieved maximum bonus points and a lead of 157. However, they collapsed from 34 for one to 95 for six, left-arm orthodox Keedy taking four wickets, before limping to 113 for six.
The Warwickshire pace duo relied on accuracy, some late movement and, in Steyn’s case, change of pace, while Keedy, obtaining some more bounce than in the first innings, seemed to undermine the batsmen most by his variation of speed and flight.
Steyn took four for 70 off 25 overs while Anyon, previously expensive, returned three for 85 off only 15.
Steyn said: "The last time I came here [with Essex in 2005] I struggled at first so it would have been nice to have kick-started my first innings with a little five-wicket haul.
"But Jimmy seemed like he was struggling at one stage there and I always said to him ‘if you are going to get one you are going to get another, then another’, so it was good for him, he ended up with three-for, whatever, and it wasn’t as though he wasn’t going to get a wicket.
"So that was nice, that he also got wickets, because he has to do something for us in the second innings, to help win the game for us.
"Once he got the ball in the right areas and had the confidence to bowl full he was going quite nicely and he got three good wickets."
Keedy, meanwhile, has brought the Red Rose county very much back into this match because the visitors have a threatening top order.
Darren Maddy survived a fielding mix-up in the 11th over, bowled by Cork, when Stuart Law and Mark Chilton collided as the ball was lobbed behind the wicket.
Cork and Glen Chapple were seen off by the 12th over. Keedy bowled from the Pavilion end until close of play, Oliver Newby (eight overs), Kyle Hogg (two) and Cork (four) performing at the City end.
In the 18th over Maddy was yorked by Newby who, two balls later, had Jonathan Trott, too, when the batsman attempted to turn a ball to leg only for the missile to be deflected off his body on to the ground before it rolled on to the stumps.
Ian Westwood, after playing several well-timed drives, turned a delivery to the leg side but was surprised by the bounce Keedy achieved and was caught at silly mid on.
Alex Loudon advanced down the pitch to Keedy but an outside edge to his drive resulted in the ball ballooning to cover point before Jim Troughton tried to sweep Keedy and was caught, probably off his glove, by Law running from short leg to leg slip.
Finally, Heath Streak seemed to want to play Keedy off the front foot, came back, and was caught at slip, very close to the ground, by Law. Tim Ambrose (22 not out) batted with confidence until the close.
The day began with Steyn bowling successive maidens to Sutton (45no), from the Pavilion end, as he and Paul Horton (53no) resumed cautiously.
The century stand arrived in 37 overs as the pair advanced by stealth, glances and nudges. Sutton struck the only three fours in the first hour and Horton hit his only one of the day at 12.20.
Finally, at 12.40, Horton (76, nine fours, 202 balls) followed a ball outside off stump by Tim Groenewald and edged to Ambrose, reward for keeping the ball up. The stand of 147 had taken 56 overs.
Chapple began with three back-foot cover drives, twice off Loudon — the first spin of the innings coming in the 65th over — then another off Troughton, in the final over before lunch, taken at 249 for five off 83 overs.
Chapple threatened with two drives for four off Naqaash Tahir soon after lunch but fell in the next over, caught behind to Steyn, at 265 for six in the 87th.
Sutton (111, 17 fours, 257 balls) reached a meritorious century off 220 deliveries, with 16 fours, with a cover drive for four off Steyn but fell to Anyon when a perfect delivery that moved away left him on the crease and edging behind. In becoming the mainstay of the reply, he showed much discipline, playing out nine maiden overs. His mature batting augurs well; his championship average last season of 51.23 far exceeds his career return of 32.40.
Upon his departure Steyn and Anyon held sway.
Steyn changed to around the wicket in mid-over and Kyle Hogg attempting an off-side waft, played on. Oliver Newby flashed outside off stump off Anyon and Maddy dived low to his right at second slip and caught well.
As the follow-on figure of 341 loomed Keedy exuded a doomed air with each missed delivery. Cork, needing to attack and protect Keedy, cover-drove Anyon for four and then top-edged a hook, Steyn, running in from long leg, diving forward but arriving with the ball just out of his reach.
Cork, roused now, edged a four to fine leg, was hit on the grill of his helmet by Steyn and, taking a single next ball, left Keedy to survive one delivery. Anyon bowled Cork leg stump next ball.nBefore yesterday’s play Darren Maddy was awarded his county cap and Tim Groenewald and Jimmy Anyon their second XI cap by Heath Streak.n Neil Carter is expected to be out of cricket for a month after a slight tear in the cartilage of his left knee. The injury flared up during pre-season matches and will require keyhole surgery next week.
Warwickshire will thus play their first Friends Provident Trophy match tomorrow, against Northamptonshire at Edgbaston, without a bowler who has not missed a one-day match for the club in almost four years. Carter said: "It's a long season ahead and after I go under the knife next week hopefully I will be back on the park in a month.