Lancashire on top after dominating display
A double century by Dane Vilas and a hundred by Ryan McLaren, together with five early wickets in Hampshire’s second innings has put Lancashire in with a great chance of winning this Specsavers County Championship match.
The visitors finished on 50-5 still trailing by 148 runs on a sensational record-breaking third day as Lancashire heaped the pressure on Hampshire with an impressive and dominating display.
After posting a huge total of 593 the Red Rose attack struck quickly to leave the visitors reeling on 26-4 with three wickets for James Anderson who ended the day with figures of 8-4-5-3.
Anderson removed Jimmy Adams lbw for 0, and Rilee Rossouw, caught at third slip by Steven Croft, with consecutive deliveries in the third over of the Hampshire innings before trapping first innings century-maker George Bailey lbw for 10.
In between Jarvis completely deceived Michael Carberry who offered no shot to a delivery that nipped back to hit off stump.
James Vince then drove McLaren to Rob Jones at short extra cover just before the close to cap a great day for the Red Rose side.
Sean Ervine (1 not out) and Matt Salisbury (0 not out) will resume for the visitors and Lancashire will fancy their chances of pushing for victory tomorrow.
Dane Vilas described the five wickets that fell during the final hour making it “a perfect day” for Lancashire.
“It was beautiful to watch and I had a great view at slip,” was Vilas’s assessment of Anderson’s late evening spell.
“It is scary how well he is bowling at the moment. To see his passion, he is really up for it. He was a big inspiration for the guys in that last session.
“And that final wicket of Vince was the icing on the cake on a perfect day.
The nature of the game changed dramatically during those 22 overs and Vilas added: “I have been in that situation myself and know how difficult it is.
“Once you see the opposition go past your total and the runs pile on, you are thinking then about how many more overs you have to be in the field and how many more runs you have to get. It just gets worse and worse and your legs start getting heavier and heavier.
“That's exactly what we wanted to do, zap as much energy out of them as possible and get two or three wickets late in the day, but it's unbelievable that we have got five.”
On another hot and humid day, Vilas and McLaren both reached three figures for the first time in a Red Rose shirt and in the process set a new Lancashire sixth wicket first-class partnership record of 231 against Hampshire.
It was a superb effort by the pair who attacked right from the start this morning, Vilas riding his luck when dropped on 77 from successive deliveries in the second over of the day bowled by Brad Taylor. The off spinner’s anguish only increased when Vilas reverse swept the next delivery for four.
The visitors were left to contemplate what might have been as Vilas and McLaren powered on throughout the morning and into the afternoon, finally separated after 60 overs when McLaren was adjudged lbw to Berg for a chanceless 107 with Lancashire 454-6.
Their partnership was the fourth highest for the Lancashire sixth wicket but more importantly it had taken the Red Rose side ahead of Hampshire’s first innings 395 and also built a strong platform to enable Steven Croft’s side to make a final day push for victory.
It was also the first time three Lancashire batsmen have scored centuries in the same innings since Carl Hooper, Stuart Law and Iain Sutcliffe all scored hundreds against Northants in the opening match of the 2004 season.
“It was an unbelievable partnership,”said Vilas. “Ryan just took all the pressure off me and I could just play my game.
“He has batted beautifully in the last few games and scored 70s and 80s, so for him to get his first four-day hundred for the club I am delighted for him.”
Vilas stepped up the momentum after McLaren’s departure, taking 64 balls to move from 100 to 150, and 64 more to reach his third career double-century with a straight drive to the long-off boundary off Sean Ervine.
That was the precursor to a great finish to the innings as Vilas, with the aid of Jordan Clark (24) and Kyle Jarvis (30), then launched into a ferocious onslaught hitting 44 off 25 balls to be last out for a career-best 244 the highlight of which came when he struck three huge sixes off four balls into the stands off Taylor.
Vilas’s innings also broke the record for the highest score by a Lancashire number 6 batsman in first-class cricket, beating Graham Lloyd’s 225 against Yorkshire in 1997.
The last 54 runs of the innings arrived from 5 overs as Lancashire raced to a first-innings lead of 198 that soon looked far more imposing as the Hampshire wickets tumbled.
“It was an unbelievable day, a really good day for us,”said Vilas.
“Everything we wanted came good. We’re really happy how the whole day went.
“On a personal note, to get that a big score like that was good. I’m really happy.
Vilas has made a habit of making big scores once he has reached three figures. Seven of his 13 first-class centuries are ones of more than 150, and he added: “When you get to a hundred you want to go on and get a big hundred. They get you noticed. That’s what the team needs too.
“Sitting down and watching guys in the past, you see them get to a hundred and then lose concentration. It’s then difficult for the next guy coming in.
“I’ve been in that situation where guys get out having got a hundred, so I know how frustrating it is. I don’t want to be that guy who’s putting pressure on the next man in.
“We say in the dressing room, when it’s your day make sure you dig deep and go as big as you can for the team.
“So I’m happy that I went as big as I did today.”
“All the hard work you put in, the sweat, the tears – when you bat like that, it's what you work for, it's a brilliant feeling.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh