Lancs poised to claim second win
Lancashire are in a great position to clinch a second Specsavers County Championship victory after dominating the second day at Emirates Old Trafford, with Luke Procter making a career-best 137 and Alviro Petersen adding a sparkling 81.
They have Hampshire in trouble at the close on 22-1 and staring at an innings defeat with two days still to play.
The first two session of play today were ones of contrast as Haseeb Hameed and Luke Procter set about consolidating Lancashire’s advantage after skittling Hampshire out for 109 on the opening day.
The afternoon session saw some outstanding strokeplay as Steven Croft’s side rammed home their superiority, added to when the Red Rose attack claimed an early wicket when Hampshire batted for a second time in the evening.
During the morning Procter and Hameed slowly but steadily built on their partnership of 104 to secure Lancashire’s overnight advantage.
Procter drove Ryan McLaren for the two that took him to his half century in the first over of the day, but the early stages saw the pair play watchfully against McLaren and spinner Liam Dawson.
In fact 35 minutes had elapsed before the first boundary of the day arrived when Procter glanced James Tomlinson to fine leg with Hameed driving his first four of the morning through mid-wicket off Dawson after nearly one hour’s play.
The pair then started to push on, Hameed reaching his third first-class half century and Lancashire gaining their first batting point at 200-1 in the 69th over.
Just when it seemed likely that Lancashire would go through a second consecutive session without losing a wicket, Hameed’s innings ended on the stroke of lunch at 62 when his forward press to leg spinner Mason Crane found an edge that was grabbed by James Vince at slip.
That ended a partnership of 173 runs in just under 77 overs, but still left Lancashire in a strong position at 226-2.
Alviro Petersen and Procter combined to dominate the afternoon session as Lancashire piled on the runs.
Petersen was quickly off the mark with a single from Crane’s remaining delivery of the interrupted over before lunch, before the South African tucked Dawson away for two boundaries in the following over.
Petersen followed that with three more fours off leg spinner Crane to make an explosive start to his innings.
Procter joined in with three boundaries in one Crane over that took the left-handed batsman to his second first-class century from 253 balls. The same boundary also saw the 50 partnership arrive from 82 balls as Lancashire pushed their lead towards the 200 mark.
A few balls later Procter passed his previous highest score of 106, scored against Gloucestershire in 2013, as Lancashire reached 300-2 in the 96th over with Petersen pulling Tomlinson for four to reach his own half-century from 52 balls.
The runs continued to flow, even after Hampshire belatedly took the new ball in the 93rd over, with Procter lofting Dawson into the stands at long-on to bring up the century partnership for the third wicket from 141 balls.
Petersen struck one of the shots of the day when unfurling a glorious cover drive for four off Tino Best before pulling the pace bowler through mid-wicket for four. A decidedly unimpressed Best bowled a bouncer next ball from around the wicket that Petersen pulled high to Carberry on the square-leg boundary to end an exhilarating innings of 81 from 85 balls.
The third wicket partnership between Petersen and Procter had added 123 runs in 26 overs to put Lancashire in the box seat on 349-3, a lead of 240.
Steven Croft hit Dawson for a straight six before the Lancashire skipper fell to a great one-handed catch by his opposite number Vince at second slip to give Best his second wicket just before tea, which the Red Rose reached on 370-4.
Procter’s 6 hour and 27 minute innings came to end in the 110th over when the left hander pulled Best to Dawson at mid-wicket, and he departed to a standing ovation for his innings of 137.
Best then bowled Liam Livingstone and James Anderson for ducks to claim five wickets in 36 balls, while Alex Davies added 17 in 18 balls before mistiming a lofted drive off Crane to Carberry at extra cover for 17.
Kyle Jarvis was bowled by Dawson for 6 but Neil Wagner produced a great cameo of an innings in making 37 from 30 balls including one six and 4 fours, adding 26 runs for the last wicket with Simon Kerrigan who made 20 not out.
It meant that Lancashire, 456 all out, had a huge lead of 347 runs with Hampshire left to bat for a potentially tricky 14 overs before the close.
The visitors made the worst possible start losing Jimmy Adams for a duck in the first over. The left-handed batsman pushed hesitantly at a good ball on off stump from Anderson that found the edge, with Karl Brown making a smart catch at second slip.
Carberry and Vince dug in to successfully see out the remaining overs with Hampshire 22-1 but needing a further 325 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
Needless to say Luke Procter was a happy man at the close.
“I’m over the moon to be honest,” he grinned. “To get a hundred at Emirates Old Trafford is one of my boyhood dreams and it came true today.
Asked if he had suffered any nerves as he closed in on his century he said: “No, I didn’t really think about it at all to be honest.
“The bowlers did a fantastic job yesterday and the plan was to bat all day today. I was concentrating on putting the team into a great position.
“There was no rush about how fast we get our runs and it was great batting with Haseeb, he’s very calm and then later Alviro put the pressure back on them.
After two days Lancashire are in a great position and Procter added: “I think there’s more hard work needed tomorrow because it’s a good wicket but it’s starting to turn.
Talking about his new role in the side after missing out in recent seasons he said: “Princey batted at three last year and it’s big boots to fill. I’ve really enjoyed it and after getting a few starts it was really good to get a hundred.
“I found out I was going to bat at three just before the start of the season. I’d worked really hard on my game during the winter and it’s obviously paid off. It’s good to be back."
Bonus points in this match: Lancashire 7 (4 batting, 1 bowling), Hampshire 1 (bowling).