Hameed in positive mood despite Essex game heading for draw
After three days’ play Essex are 115-4 in their first innings, trailing Lancashire by 107 runs with bad weather once again curtailed play early in this Specsavers County championship match.
With one day remaining, a draw looks to be the most likely outcome of this meeting of the top two teams.
A bright and breezy 10th wicket partnership of 57 between Tom Bailey and Kyle Jarvis took Lancashire to a first innings total of 290 when play resumed today, with 68 runs struck from 14 overs.
Haseeb Hameed added 3 runs to his overnight 85 before being trapped lbw by a Porter delivery that kept very low giving the batsman little chance.
But Bailey, who produced some thumping drives in his 34 not out, and Jarvis embarked on an enterprising and entertaining partnership to frustrate Essex and take Lancashire to a welcome, second batting point.
In fact they came close to a third point but Jarvis, having hit spinner Harmer for six, was bowled for 26 attempting to repeat the shot from the next delivery.
That represented a good recovery by Lancashire with the last three wickets doubling the score from yesterday’s perilous 145-7.
Ryan McLaren then put Essex in early trouble with two wickets before lunch to leave the visitors on 38-2 at the break.
Nick Browne on 6 offered no shot to a delivery that ripped out his off stump while Dan Lawrence was well caught at third slip by a diving Dane Vilas for 12 giving McLaren lunch time figures of 2-12 from 8 overs.
Ravi Bopara joined forces with Varun Chopra to steady the innings during the afternoon, the pair building a patient partnership of 58 runs that took 25 overs, although Bopara survived being dropped in the slips when on 18.
Tom Bailey was the unlucky bowler on that occasion but the tall seam bowler was celebrating shortly afterwards when he trapped Chopra lbw for 40 to leave Essex on 81-3.
The weather deteriorated shortly afterwards forcing McLaren to turn to the spin of Stephen Parry and Liam Livingstone to prevent the umpires taking the players off the field due to bad light.
And from the last ball before tea Parry took the wicket of Bopara for 34, caught at slip by Livingstone to make the score 115-4.
But rain arrived during the interval to end the day early with play finally abandoned at 5pm.
Haseeb Hameed made his highest score of the season with 88 in Lancashire’s first innings and was delighted to have contributed runs when the team were in a difficult position.
“Conditions were quite difficult yesterday,” he said, “and after losing early wickets it was important for one of us to dig in and try to get a few partnerships together.
“I was glad I was able to be part of a few of those.
“I was quite determined to score runs in whatever way possible and bat for as long as I could.
“And it was the partnerships that kept me going, even when I wasn’t scoring as freely as I’d have liked.
“They were really important partnerships and I felt it was a good total on that wicket.”
Following his unbeaten 77 against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, there was a three week gap between games for Hameed, apart from some rain interrupted second team outings, but he said:
“I felt confidence returning (in that game) even though it wasn’t ideal having three weeks between games,” he said. “As a batter having rhythm is important and you can only get that out in the middle.
“I had to find that again a bit last week against Warwickshire but I felt quite good before I got out.
“This innings, the saying is the longer you spend out in the middle the easier it becomes, and that was the case for me.
“The ball started doing a bit less as it got older and softer and their bowlers started to tire.
It’s about learning when it’s time to soak up a bit of pressure and when it’s time to the pressure back on the opposition.
“I feel like the more innings I play and the more time I spend out in the middle, the more I’m learning about that end of the game. Hopefully I can continue to develop in that way.”
“I do feel good at the crease right now and for me it’s about making sure I do the right things for myself.”
Hameed is relishing the run of games over final weeks of the season, aiming to end the season in good form.
“That’s the aim for me and the team,” he said. “We’ve got an important few weeks coming up in terms of where we are in the table and where we’d like to finish.
“My role is try and contribute as much as I can.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh