Match Preview: Hampshire v Lancashire, Ageas Bowl
Match Preview: Hampshire CCC v Lancashire CCC, Specsavers County Championship at the Ageas Bowl
Lancashire are aiming for their third win in the last four Specsavers County Championship matches as they look to maintain the pressure on leaders Essex.
The Red Rose travel to the Ageas Bowl to tackle a Hampshire side who, like themselves, are much improved following last year’s near miss with relegation.
Lancashire are currently 29 points behind Essex with six games to play. Essex face Yorkshire at Scarborough, also starting tomorrow.
Prior to the month away for the NatWest T20 Blast, Lancashire were on a roll in four-day cricket.
They beat Middlesex by eight wickets at Southport and followed that up by hammering Hampshire by an innings and 30 runs at Emirates Old Trafford.
After that, they drew with Warwickshire at Edgbaston in the pink ball fixture, a game which could have gone either way on the final day had rain not intervened.
That game, at the end of June, was Lancashire’s last Championship fixture, although third-placed Hampshire dominated a draw at Surrey the week later.
Hampshire are only a point behind Lancashire, but Australian George Bailey’s side have played one match more.
Hampshire v Lancashire
Sunday 6 – Wednesday 9 August
Hampshire and Lancashire have both won three matches this season and drawn four, although the Southampton-based side have lost two to the Red Rose’s one.
Batsman Bailey has replaced Ryan McLaren as Hampshire’s overseas player this year, and he captains them.
In ex-South Africa Test seamer Kyle Abbott, playing under a Kolpak registration, they have the top division’s leading wicket-taker with 40.
He took seven-for in their season opening win over Yorkshire at Headingley, and they have also beaten Somerset and Warwickshire.
LAST TIME OUT
George Bailey’s 127 had put Hampshire in a healthy position at Emirates Old Trafford in June with a first-innings score of 395 having elected to bat.
But centuries for Alex Davies, Dane Vilas and Ryan McLaren stunned the visitors, with Lancashire amassing 593.
Vilas’s 244 was a career best and his first four-day century in Lancashire colours. McLaren hit 107 against his former county after Davies had opened up with 115.
Hampshire started their second innings on day three 198 runs in arrears and slipped to 168 all out and defeat on day four.
Jimmy Anderson finished with four wickets in the second innings, with McLaren’s three taking his tally of wickets to five in a memorable match.
WHAT THEY SAID
Ryan McLaren has revealed he is loving life at Lancashire following his move North ahead of 2017.
McLaren, 34, has taken 25 Championship wickets and scored 410 runs, added to useful contributions in the T20 Blast.
The South African said: “It’s been unbelievable. We’ve come over with me playing county cricket for a few seasons now, and I suppose it’s easy for me to reflect as a player.
“But when my wife comes over and says it’s probably the best she’s been received as a family with the boys, it says quite a lot.
“On the field, the guys have set high standards. They’re an ambitious team. It’s great to be part of.
“The history and tradition of the club is really special. To just be representing the Red Rose is special.
“Off the field, everything you ask for or need has been done in a flash. I’m really grateful for how it’s gone.”
On his form, he said: “To put it in the context of all three formats, I’m obviously happy with the way it’s gone in T20 and the four-day cricket.
“There’s always that expectation as an overseas player to perform in big matches, which up to know I’m pretty happy with how that’s gone.
“I was disappointed in one-day cricket. I felt I let the team down with performances there. They weren’t up to the standards I set. But you learn from that.
“It’s the halfway stage in the season, just about, and we’re in a good position. I’m hoping to continue making as many contributions as possible.”
Opening batsman Haseeb Hameed returns to first-team duties after the break for the Blast.
“Hampshire made some big signings over the winter and have brought in some quality players,” he said. “That’s helped them.
“They have a lot of experience, especially at the top of the order with guys like Jimmy Adams and Michael Carberry, who have been there for a while.
“They are led by George Bailey, who has played a fair bit of international cricket.
“They have a strong side, but we’ll have a lot of confidence knowing that we beat them at our place. Hopefully we can take that winning mentality into this game.”
Last year, these two sides drew on a flat pitch at the Ageas Bowl which turned later on.
Lancashire narrowly failed to avoid the follow-on, but they were only left with a short time to bat in the second innings on day four, with Hameed scoring a polished 53 not out to form part of a stunning run of form which led to England Test honours.
It may not have been a big century, but it was a superb knock.
He reflected: “That did give me a lot of confidence. We had sort of 40 or 50 overs to bat. We just fell short of the follow-on on a spinning pitch with Liam Dawson and Mason Crane doing a lot of bowling.
“That kind of situation is good for a batsman because you know clearly what you need to do.
“That was quite a significant innings for me.
“Their plan was to produce a pitch which aided their spinners, and batting on the last day is never easy against two good spinners.
“It was quite challenging, but I was glad I could use my skills to help us on that day.”
Take a look at the other fixtures in the next round of the Specsavers County Championship
- Yorkshire v Essex, Scarborough, Sun 6 – Wed 9 August
- Middlesex v Warwickshire, Lord’s, Sun 6 – Wed 9 August
- Somerset v Surrey, Mon 7 – Thu 10 August
Watch Lancashire this summer
Make the most of the summer holidays and buy tickets to watch Lancashire County Cricket Club in action in the Specsavers County Championship or NatWest T20 Blast competition at Emirates Old Trafford.
Lancashire are looking to close the gap between them and Essex in the Specsavers County Chamipnship as both teams bid to lift the Championship trophy this summer – with home fixtures against Warwickshire, Essex and Surrey still to come.
Next up in the NatWest T20 Blast is our first Bails and Ales drinks festival at Emirates Old Trafford which will take place during our final two home fixtures (Wed 16 Aug v Rapids and Fri 18 Aug v Bears), this is not to be missed.
Buy your tickets online from just £12 for a memorable summer’s day out. Don’t forget to buy online and use our TicketFast Print At Home delivery option for the best prices and to beat the Ticket Office queues.