Bailey century frustrates Lancashire attack
Day One Report
A George Bailey century held the Hampshire innings together at Emirates Old Trafford in the face of a good Lancashire bowling effort in batsmen-friendly conditions with the visitors ending the first day of this Specsavers County Championship match on 351-8.
Visiting skipper Bailey backed up his decision to bat first with a fine, solid innings of 127, while six wickets fell during the first two sessions as the ball swung and offered some assistance to the bowlers for the first half of a sunny, humid day although batting was by no means difficult on an easy-paced surface.
Kyle Jarvis was left frustrated by the Hampshire fightback over the evening session saying: “I think there was a momentum swing towards their side during that last session.
“To give them credit, I thought (Kyle) Abbott played really well as did George Bailey.
“If we can get the last couple of wickets early tomorrow morning for less than 350 we will probably be alright.”
Lancashire welcomed back pace duo James Anderson and Jarvis, who replaced Tom Bailey and Saqib Mahmood from the side that played at Southport last week, while Rob Jones and Luke Procter came in at the top of the batting order with both Haseeb Hameed and Liam Livingstone away on England duty.
Having elected to bat, Mike Carberry and Jimmy Adams endured some anxious moments as both Anderson and Jarvis found swing and movement to trouble the visitors’ opening pair.
After negotiating the early exchanges to reach 30 without loss after fifty minutes of play, both batsmen found themselves back in the dressing room in the space of 17 deliveries as three wickets fell for eight runs.
Adams, on 16, gave an easy catch to Jones at cover after his attempt to flick Jarvis to leg found a leading edge. After crunching one boundary to mid-wicket Rilee Rossouw played too soon at a slower ball from Jarvis to give the bowler a return catch having made just that one scoring shot.
Carberry then edged an attempted cut off former teammate Ryan McLaren to wicketkeeper Alex Davies to depart for 14 with Hampshire in early trouble on 38-3.
James Vince and skipper Bailey batted with increasing assurance striking a flurry of boundaries just before the break to reach lunch on 84-3 but Procter trapped Vince lbw for 22 soon after play resumed to make the score 107-4 in the 35th over.
Bailey reached his fifty from 72 balls shortly thereafter but soon lost partner Sean Ervine for 7 when the left hander edged a Procter delivery that moved away to be well caught by Davies tumbling to his left, 125-5.
Lewis McManus provided good support to Bailey with a determined innings of 15, helping his skipper add 52 runs for the seventh wicket before edging Jordan Clark to Anderson at second slip.
Conditions eased as the day wore on from that point with Jarvis adding: ““Having them 177 for 6, I think we would have liked to have done a little bit better.
“With the outfield being quite wet, the ball is not being scuffed up as much so it’s been easier to shine. There was a bit of movement through the air.
“The pitch has got better in this last session. It’s a good batting pitch so we’d like to put on a big score.
Unusually the ball was changed twice during the first 80 overs.
“The second ball we had was out of shape,” revealed Jarvis. “It was doing absolutely nothing. As soon as we changed it, you could see it (the new one, the third one used) moving as it should.
“I think when Jimmy can’t swing the ball then you know there’s a problem with the ball!
“It wasn’t swinging as much in the last session,” he added. “That made it easier to play and to be fair they batted well and played some positive cricket.”
Gareth Berg joined forces with Bailey to build another steady partnership of 55 either side of tea before Berg fell for 27, lbw sweeping at Stephen Parry to leave Hampshire on a below-par 232-7.
By then Bailey had reached three figures from 145 balls when cutting Clark square to record his 15th four and the Hampshire skipper found great support from Kyle Abbott during the final session.
Abbott played in attacking fashion from the start, scoring 41 of the pair’s fifty partnership which arrived from 57 balls before going on to reach his own half century from just 54 balls with eight fours.
It was an outstanding contribution from Hampshire’s number nine batsman and helped the visitors to finish the day in a far better position than had looked possible earlier.
Bailey’s innings finally came to a close on 127 when his attempted cut off Anderson instead found the stumps via a bottom edge, ending a valuable partnership of 82 for the eighth wicket that had brought the visitors right back in to the game.
Abbott finished the day on 76 not out, his highest Championship score, with Brad Taylor 18 not out, while all six Lancashire bowlers took wickets as Hampshire closed the day on 351-8.
“Every game we are pushing to win,” added Jarvis.
“The side is playing some really good cricket at the moment so there’s no reason why we can’t win the next couple of games. We have Jimmy around for the next couple of games., so we can put ourselves in a really good position.”
Getting through 19 overs in the day and picking up a couple of vital wickets ended a frustrating period for the quick bowler following his broken thumb injury, with Jarvis saying: “I felt I was bowling really well towards the end of the one-dayers. I was in good touch.
“It just happened the day before the Roses game, so it was the worst possible time.
“I’ve missed three games at the end of the day. It’s a month on (from that) and I can get a big push on now for the rest of the season and get some good performances in for Lancashire.”
Meanwhile Anderson looked comfortable on his return from injury getting through 22 overs during the day.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh