Livingstone double century puts Lancashire into a commanding position
Lancashire moved into a commanding position at the halfway stage of this Specsavers County Championship match due to a career-best 215 not out by Liam Livingstone that helped the Red Rose reach 484-6 to lead Warwickshire by the huge margin of 284 runs.
Livingstone enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Shivnarine Chanderpaul who made 95, the pair dominating play with a 211-run alliance for the fifth wicket on a day where just three wickets fell.
It was a outsanding innings by Livingstone, the first double century of his career, who said: “It was good fun!
“Our aim at the start of the day was to try and bat as long as we could, try and bat the whole day and see where we were at the end. We achieved that so it’s exciting going into tomorrow.”
Assessing his first career double century, Livingstone added: “When you get the chance to get in and put in a performance for the team, that’s what everyone wants to do. So it was nice to get in and then go on a get a big score.
“It makes the hard work that you put in to get to that place all worthwhile. It’s been a bit of an up and down season for me so it’s nice to get in and make some runs while I’m feeling good.
“I would say that's the best I've batted in my career. I have felt there has been something missing all year and not been able to put my finger on it.
“It has been a bit stop start, not playing all the Championship games while I have been away with England and the Lions.
“But it was nice to get out there and in a rhythm.
“It was always going to be a challenge for me to bat at three this year. Whether it worked or not, it was always going to be a learning curve for me.
“Luckily, both times I have been able to get myself in, I have gone on to make big scores.
“Today is as good as I have felt all year. And this will give me confidence.
“We have a run of Championship games now which helps.
Livingstone was full of praise for the support he received out in the middle today.
“Pazza came in last night, took a few for the team and then batted brilliantly this morning,” he said.
“Shiv came in and made it all look so easy. It was great to bat with him. Jos struck the ball cleanly so they made my job, to bat around them, a little bit easier. “
It left Lancashire in a great position with two days to play.
“We’ve still got work to do tomorrow,” said Livingstone. “We are in a good position to push on for the win over the next two days.
“The pitch is still a very good wicket, he said. “We know the longer you bat the worse the pitch will get. We’ve seen before how it can change. It’s starting to spin and Jeetan Patel was getting a few to go at the end, so there are encouraging signs.
Livingstone isn’t looking too far ahead as we move into the final month of the season.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good position,” he said. "All we can do is try and win as many games as we can and see where we end up.
“I think we’ve got a good balance (in the team). Players with experience and good local lads who are starting to make up the core of the team.
“It’s very good to be a part of it. A lot of us have grown up together, come through the ranks together and I think it’s a great mix.”
Resuming the Lancashire first innings on 112-3, Livingstone, 41 not out overnight, drove the first ball of the day from Chris Wright for four to start proceedings in a positive fashion and soon reached his fifty from 77 balls just after posting a fifty partnership off 66 balls with nightwatchman Stephen Parry.
The pair continued to erode the Warwickshire lead during the first hour of the day as they extended their stand to 85 before Parry, one short of equalling his career-best score of 44 scored earlier this season against Somerset, was caught at mid-off by Matthew Lamb off spinner Jeetan Patel.
Livingstone settled in to steer Lancashire into the lead when driving Wright for four half an hour before lunch, and he was well supported by Chanderpaul who drove the first ball of his innings from Patel for four and contributed 30 runs to the second fifty partnership of the morning from 65 balls.
Livingstone had cut Wright for four to bring up that particular landmark, and then reached his third century of this summer in spectacular fashion by pulling Oli Stone for six over mid-wicket from the penultimate ball of the morning session, Lancashire lunching on 239-4.
A period of consolidation followed the break with just 12 runs scored in 8 overs before Livingstone and Chanderpaul attacked, taking 50 from 9 overs and reaching their century partnership from 147 balls in the process.
Livingstone drove Patel for four before hammering leg spinner Dominic Sibley into the rear of the stand at mid-wicket for the third six of his innings as a third batting point arrived in the 79th over.
The arrival of the new ball did little to stem the flow of runs with Chanderpaul square cutting Wright for 4 to post the 150 partnership and Livingstone reaching his own 150 when driving Barker to the cover boundary.
Livingstone passed his career-best score when reaching 169 shortly before tea with Lancashire firmly in charge on 371-4 but he lost partner Chanderpaul early in the evening session when the left-hander pulled Wright to Patel at square leg to fall just short of his century on 95 in a partnership worth a huge 211 runs in 49 overs.
Jos Buttler joined Livingstone to take Lancashire to 400-5 in the 105th over and help clinch maximum batting points, and hitting one six off Patel in his innings of 49 to heap further suffering on the Warwickshire bowlers in a partnership of 82 in 19 overs.
Buttler departed, hitting out, when caught at long-on by Sibley off Andy Umeed but Livingston moved on relentlessly to reach his first double century late in the day from 302 balls before bad light ended play seven overs early with Lancashire on 484-6.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh