Super Lancs on top against Hampshire
Lancashire’s bowlers produced an outstanding bowling display to skittle Hampshire out for 109 on the opening day of this Specsavers County Championship match, and the Red Rose batsmen then increased the pressure on the visitors by reaching 157-1 at the close, a lead of 48 runs.
Hampshire waived their right to bowl and presumably were delighted to win the toss and bat on a beautiful day at Emirates Old Trafford, but their joy was short-lived.
James Anderson and Kyle Jarvis found bounce and movement to regularly beat the bat and give Hampshire openers Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams an uncomfortable time when play began in sunny and windy conditions this morning.
Adams was dropped off a difficult chance at second slip on 5 from Anderson but failed to add to his score before falling to a great leaping catch at third slip by Karl Brown two overs later, Anderson gaining revenge after producing a delivery with extra bounce that the batsman failed to control.
James Vince then endured a brief, torrid innings-playing at and missing five of his first eight deliveries, all from Anderson. The Hampshire skipper, keen to get off the mark, then drove his first ball from Jarvis back past the bowler and set off for a single only to see Steven Croft swoop from mid-off to stop the ball, turn, and hit the stumps at the bowler’s end to pull off a remarkable run out.
That left the visitors on 14-2 in the 10th over and the first boundary off the bat finally arrived in the next when Carberry drove Jarvis to the long-off ropes. Will Smith then glanced a further four to fine leg a few overs later, but the Hampshire batsmen found run scoring difficult during the morning session in the face of some accurate and, at times, hostile Red Rose bowling.
With half an hour to play before lunch, Neil Wagner, bowling his third over of the day from the Statham End, struck in spectacular style with two wickets in two balls to reduce Hampshire to 34-4. First Carberry edged an attempted drive to wicketkeeper Alex Davies to depart for 16 and Liam Dawson then limped back to the dressing room after being hit painfully on the toes to be lbw first ball.
Lancashire’s great morning was complete when Luke Procter claimed the fifth wicket shortly before lunch when Smith’s attempted leg glance was caught by Davies, the batsman out for 18 and Hampshire in deep trouble at the break on 57-5.
Matters failed to improve for the visitors on the resumption of play. Ryan McLaren drove Jarvis for four in the first over after lunch but then fell to a stunning Croft catch. The Hampshire batsman drove Anderson uppishly towards mid-off only to see Croft run backwards and across from his fielding position and take an outstanding leaping, diving catch.
When Jarvis then followed that with another wicket, new Hampshire signing Gareth Andrew gloving a bouncer to Davies for 3, Hampshire were in disarray at 66-7 in the 35th over.
Tino Best produced a short cameo of an innings with a couple of typically belligerent blows, but after convincingly driving Anderson straight for four to reach 11, the West Indies pace bowler then edged the following delivery via a defensive prod to Liam Livingstone at first slip with the score now 83-8.
Mason Crane survived a difficult slip chance off Anderson when on 2, and the 19-year-old played with great determination in making 10 not out to lend support to Adam Wheater in adding 22 for the ninth wicket.
It was Procter who returned to finish the innings with two wickets; Wheater playing on after making the highest score of the innings with 32, and last man James Tomlinson then followed in identical fashion for 0 as the visitors were all out for just 109 midway through the afternoon.
Lancashire replied with a rapid start to their innings, Karl Brown cutting loose with seven boundaries and scoring 35 before opening partner Haseeb Hameed was even off the mark. Hameed remained unfazed, calmly stroking his 18th delivery for two before driving the next ball from Tomlinson superbly through the covers for four.
Brown was in scintillating form, reaching 40 from just 32 balls before falling lbw just before tea to Andrew’s first delivery for Hampshire at the start of the tenth over, with the score 53-1.
Hameed survived a quick, searching spell from around the wicket by Best and in tandem with Procter went on to steadily push the score past Hampshire’s first innings total, the pair reaching their fifty partnership from 106 balls.
Their alliance, a mixture of steady accumulation and the occasional boundary when the Hampshire attack strayed had reached 104 runs by the close to put Lancashire in a commanding position going in to the second day on 157-1, a lead of 48, with Hameed 41 not out and Procter unbeaten on 48.
“It was nearly a perfect day,” admitted Karl Brown, “although I would have preferred us to be none down at the close!”.
“As a unit I thought everyone bowled really well, and the batting backed that up at the end.
“The bowlers have bowled well in every game so far. It’s not down to any one person. They’ve bowled really well together, kept the pressure on and that’s brought the wickets.
“I know as a batter myself, if you keep chewing up the dot balls it can become difficult and you sometimes play a shot you probably shouldn’t play. I think creating pressure has been the key to us taking wickets.
Brown was pleased to have clung on to a great catch at third slip but said: “it wasn’t as good as Crofty’s! It was probably lucky for us that he got a bang on his finger this morning during the warm-ups. He’d have been in the slips otherwise.”
Lancashire’s opening batsman feels it is a good wicket saying: “It’s a very nice pitch. You don’t play on many bad ones here. Hopefully it makes for a lot of runs tomorrow and sets us up in a great position.
“I was looking to be positive in my innings, so I latched on to anything loose. I think that’s the best way for me to play. It’s my natural game and that’s when I’m going to be at my best. It was disappointing to get out when I did, but I was glad to help get us off to a good start.”
Lancashire have gained 3 bowling points so far in the match.