Northamptonshire piled up their biggest ever total against Warwickshire – 597 for six – to put the champions under serious pressure on the second day of their LV=Insurance County Championship tussle at Edgbaston.
Needing 448 to avoid the follow on, Warwickshire will resume on the third morning on 88 for two, their decision to bowl first on a benign pitch having spectacularly backfired.
After Ricardo Vasconcelos and Will Young scored centuries on the first day, Luke Procter added another, an unbeaten 100 from 199 balls in four and a half hours. Supported by Josh Cobb (66 from 95), the in-form Procter lifted the visitors to an imposing total against an attack led by Nathan McAndrew (three for 121).
After 154.1 overs in the field, Warwickshire then lost Alex Davies and Rob Yates in the first 20 overs. They will look to Dom Sibley (37 not out from 120) to lead the required massive rearguard action.
After resuming on the second morning on 372 for two, Northamptonshire quickly lost Emilio Gay, chopping on for 45. Rob Keogh batted positively for a run a ball 27 but was then bowled through the gate by McAndrew who managed to prise some life from the batsman-friendly track.
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Procter plodded through the morning session for 20 runs but Cobb showed more enterprise. He struck four fours and three sixes and his fifth first class century was beckoning when he responded to a tight call for a single from his partner and was beaten by Davies’ direct hit from cover.
Davies then accepted a catch on the square leg boundary to remove Lewis McManus and end Danny Briggs’ long wait for a wicket. Procter and Matthew Kelly added an unbroken 62 in ten overs before the declaration arrived when Procter ladled Yates over the long leg rope to reach his sixth first class century and second for the season.
Northamptonshire’s 17th-biggest first class total put their hosts under scoreboard pressure and their bowlers struck twice early on. Davies fell lbw to Jack White and Yates edged Kelly to Young at second slip.
At 57 for two the champions were facing a mountainous escape mission. Sibley and Sam Hain avoided further mishaps but Northamptonshire remained clearly on top in the last 18 overs of the day, much of that mountain remains ahead of the Bears.
Northamptonshire 597/6dec (Vasconcelos 156, Young 134)
Warwickshire 88/2 (Kelly 1/15, White 1/23)