James Anderson gives Lancashire the edge over Warwickshire

• Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott fail as visitors lead by 173
• Solanki hits 69 but Worcestershire collapse at Somerset

The stars were on parade at Edgbaston but they did not sparkle too brightly. Ian Bell finished with 33, Jonathan Trott nine while Jimmy Anderson probably had the most to smile about after taking three for 57 from 23 overs.

He seems happier with a red ball in his hand. Of the two counties engaged in a tight, low-scoring match Lancashire may be slightly happier than Warwickshire, but only slightly. The visitors lead by 173 with six wickets in hand.

Edgbaston was once considered a batsman's friend. So too was the County Ground at Taunton but 13 wickets fell there onThursday. Somerset look to have conjured a green, dry pitch, which keeps bowlers and slip cordon interested but also allows batsmen to play some shots, a handy combination.

Vikram Solanki hit a wonderfully wristy 69 with 13 sweetly struck boundaries, two of which were sixes, before he was lbw to Charl Willoughby just before lunch. After the break Alexei Kervezee breezed to an equally fluent half-century, whereupon Worcestershire collapsed from 207 for five to 209 for nine. Kervezee missed a long hop in Arul Suppiah's first over to begin the slide.

Soon Steve Kirby, whose encouragement to his new colleagues from long leg echo around the little County Ground, was on a hat-trick and Worcestershire were 71 behind after two innings. By the close that lead was extended to 154 and Somerset had seven wickets in hand. James Hildreth, run out without facing in the first innings, scrambled a risky single to avoid a pair and is still there.

The game is not moving quite so swiftly at the Rose Bowl, which hosts its first Test match this summer. The way the wickets are playing, it looks as if the match against Sri Lanka will last five days. The surface is bringing more joy to chief executives than captains. Liam Dawson continued his fine run of form with 60 but, unless the captains engage in the old-fashioned custom of a challenging declaration, a draw looks likely. After two days of hard slog Hampshire are 145 for three in reply to Sussex's 438.

However, a result is on the cards at The Oval, where Surrey are seeking their first Championship win of the summer. With some big guns back – Chris Tremlett took two for 19 and Mark Ramprakash is scoring runs again – they are steamrollering Leicestershire. They are 277 in front and Rory Hamilton-Brown's only problem – a new one for him – is the timing of his declaration on Friday.

Contributor

Vic Marks

The GuardianTramp

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