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Petersen century puts Lancs on top

Petersen century puts Lancs on top

A brilliant century by Alviro Petersen has helped to put Lancashire well on top in this Specsavers County Championship match with Surrey after the second day, which ended with the Red Rose side in a strong position on 342-9.

Petersen shared a 148-run partnership with Steven Croft for the fourth wicket as Lancashire raced past the visitors’ first innings effort of 191, and into a good lead of 151 runs at the midway point of the game.

Tom Smith and Haseeb Hameed posted Lancashire’s highest opening partnership of the season with 99 runs in 46 overs to give the Red Rose a solid start this morning.

Resuming on 16-0 Hameed straight drove Mathew Pillans for four in the second over of the day and later drove Tom Curran through the covers, but boundaries were fairly rare during the early part of the morning session as the pair settled for steady accumulation against the new ball.

The 50 partnership arrived in the 24th over when Smith guided Pillans to the vacant third man boundary, and the left-handed batsmen then greeted Stuart Meaker’s introduction into the attack by driving the Surrey paceman square for four.

The pair upped the tempo with further boundaries during the second hour with Smith, in his first Championship innings since the start of 2015, reaching his half century on the stroke of lunch, to leave Lancashire well placed at 90-0 with Hameed on 35.

Surrey fought back after the break, taking three wickets for 16 runs in 9 overs soon after the resumption.

Smith had twice driven Curran to the long-on boundary from the first over of the afternoon, but then departed lbw for 59 after playing back to the off-spin of Gareth Batty.

A second wicket followed swiftly when Luke Procter was bowled for 2 offering no shot to a ball from Curran that nipped back, while Hameed chopped a shortish delivery from Meaker on to his stumps after making a patient 44 to leave Lancashire on 115-3.

Alviro Petersen counterattacked, hitting Batty into the stands at long-on before hammering three boundaries in 4 balls from the off-spinner’s following over; a thumping reverse sweep, a lofted drive over mid-on and a savage pull to the mid-wicket fence to signal his intent.

It was a sweep to the mid-wicket boundary by Petersen off Batty that brought up the fifty partnership off 79 balls for the fourth wicket with Steven Croft, with Croft then pulling Batty for six to mid-wicket.

Petersen, who passed 14,000 first-class runs when reaching 43, went on to record a 63-ball half century when he drove Pillans straight for four as Lancashire reached parity on 191-3 in the 72nd over. It was the South African’s fourth score of 50 or more in his last five innings.

Croft brought up the first batting point, driving Pillans to the cover boundary, shortly before tea with Lancashire firmly in charge at the interval on 212-3 after 76 overs.

The Red Rose pair quickly increased the lead when the final session of the day started, taking 17 runs off one James Burke over that included only two boundaries.

Petersen was in irrepressible form, striking the ball to all parts. He took just 41 balls to race from fifty to his hundred, reaching his fourth Lancashire century off 104 balls by pulling Meaker to mid-wicket for 4.

Meaker struck back when Petersen, looking to leave the ball, got a bottom edge nick to wicketkeeper Ben Foakes when on 105 having struck 17 fours and one six in an innings that will live in the memory.

That wicket ended a partnership of 148 from 29 overs with Croft who was lbw for 42 to Curran six overs later to leave Lancashire 281-5 and 90 runs ahead.

It was the first of three wickets to fall for 10 runs in quick succession as Alex Davies was caught at square leg off Meaker for 13, while Liam Livingstone and Tom Bailey both ended up at the same end after a misunderstanding with Bailey the man run out for 1.

Livingstone and Neil Wagner steered Lancashire to a third batting point which arrived at 301-7 from 98 overs with the former driving successive Batty deliveries to mid-wicket for four in an attempt to chase down a fourth batting point. Livingstone fell for 23 edging an attempted drive off Curran to wicketkeeper Foakes.

Jarvis steered Curran to third man for two consecutive fours while Wagner blasted Batty for 4 before falling lbw to the next delivery for 13. Jarvis and Kerrigan continued to push the score along to finish the day on 342-9 from 108 overs, needing 8 runs from two overs tomorrow to claim a fourth batting point.

The loss of six wickets for 130 runs during the evening session just dented Red Rose ambitions slightly, but Steven Croft’s men are still very much in the ascendancy in this game.

Centurion Alviro Petersen was full of praise for the openers after Tom Smith and Haseeb Hameed put together a good partnership earlier.

“The openers have batted really well,” he said. Tommy and Has have given us a nice opening partnership.

“There’s a platform being set by the guys that makes it better for the batters to come and find it a little bit easier.

While pleased with his contribution, Petersen wasn’t totally satisfied, saying: “I feel in decent form. I’m pretty happy with the hundred I’ve scored today but would have liked to have scored more. Cricketers are never satisfied!

“It’s important that someone gets to three figures because you know the team is generally in a good position.

We’ve managed to do that a few times this season, and as a batting unit we’ve managed to get the runs and bonus points so collectively I’m pretty happy where the boys are.

“With the start we got today, and with the partnership between me and Crofty we’ve managed to do that. Make sure we go past them because the more we go past them it’s almost like every run counts as two runs.

 “I think it’s been a decent day. Ideally we would have liked to have only been six or seven wickets down and still batting for a session tomorrow. We know we are in a good position in this game.

“It’s all about how we rock up tomorrow and do the business again. You can only say it’s been a good day if you back it up with another one. So 151 runs ahead against a decent team is good, and the wicket looks like it is going to spin so from here we are in a position to push on and hopefully get a victory.

Ken Grime

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