County Championship: Steven Croft aids Lancashire recovery against Warwickshire

Lancashire captain Steven Croft
Lancashire captain Steven Croft's half-century was only his second of the summer in the Championship
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Emirates Old Trafford
Lancashire v Warwickshire, day one
Lancashire 196-4: Croft 82*, Brown 41*
Warwickshire: Yet to bat
Warwickshire 1 pt, Lancashire 0 pts
Match scorecard

Captain Steven Croft and Karl Brown shared an unbroken century stand to help Division One leaders Lancashire fight back against Warwickshire.

After rain prevented play before lunch at Old Trafford, the hosts were put in to bat and slipped to 6-2.

When they lost Alviro Petersen (25) and Luke Procter (36) either side of tea, they were still labouring on 91-4.

But Croft (82 not out) and Brown (41 not out) put on 105 to take Lancashire to 196-4 at the close.

When play finally got under way at 14:00 BST, Warwickshire struck two quick blows as Tom Smith was caught behind off Keith Barker's seventh ball before Rikki Clarke trapped Haseeb Hameed leg before with a yorker.

Procter added 40 for the third wicket with Petersen, who then carelessly lapped spinner Jeetan Patel's second ball to Sam Hain at short leg.

Although Procter was reprieved in the last over before tea by Varun Chopra at slip off Boyd Rankin, Patel had him stumped by Tim Ambrose.

But as a miserable morning developed into a sun-kissed evening in Manchester, Ashley Giles' Lancashire prospered against his former county, to reach the close within four runs of a first batting point.

With slow left-armer Simon Kerrigan ruled out by a back injury, Lancashire gave a first-class debut to 19-year-old leg-spinner Matt Parkinson.

This game is Lancashire's first Championship fixture since losing the Roses match to Yorkshire three weeks ago, while Warwickshire had not played red-ball cricket since their defeat by Durham on 25 May.

Lancashire director of cricket Ashley Giles:

"Croft and Brown batted really well in that last session when the sun came out and it was fantastic for the captain to get a score under his belt.

"We would have batted anyway but we knew, the wicket having been under the covers, that it was going to be difficult for a period, certainly up front.

"Crofty weathered that storm very well, along with Luke Procter, and we ended the day in a decent position, although we still have a lot of work to do.

"There was always going to be a bit in the wicket with the new ball but it is also dry and a couple have spun already so hopefully that trend will continue and the ball will spin more."

Warwickshire all-rounder Rikki Clarke:

"When there is bad weather around and the covers have been on you always think there will be a bit of movement and there was a decent amount of swing but we were surprised at how slow the wicket is.

"Generally this season, everywhere you go, the first 30 overs is quite crucial. The balls haven't really held up that well this year which is a major factor.

"But we kept coming, kept working hard, kept putting the ball in the right areas and are just a wicket or two away from putting them under a bit more pressure.

"Jeets has played a massive part, building pressure and creating half-chances and hopefully will have a big say later in the game, and Boyd was really unlucky."