Match preview: Lancashire v Hampshire
Lancashire v Hampshire, Specsavers County Championship, Emirates Old Trafford
Lancashire are in buoyant mood, and why not!
The Red Rose beat defending champions Middlesex by eight wickets at Southport last weekend to bounce back immediately from their heavy Roses defeat.
Next up are Hampshire, a side who sit third and six points clear of the Red Rose having made a strong start with three wins from six.
The end of this game marks the halfway point in the campaign, and a second win on the bounce for Lancashire would be a third in all.
It would put them firmly amongst the leading pack.
It would also be a second successive home victory over Hampshire for Steven Croft’s side following last year’s innings win.
The Red Rose will be without Liam Livingstone and Haseeb Hameed due to England T20 and Lions call-ups, but seamers Jimmy Anderson and Kyle Jarvis are set to return following injury.
Lancashire v Hampshire
Monday 19 – Thursday 22 June
Emirates Old Trafford
Hampshire survived relegation in unique circumstances last September, but they have certainly made the most of their reprieve.
The South Coast side finished in the bottom two in Division One, but were handed a lifeline when Durham were penalised by the ECB for their financial problems and relegated instead.
Now, as they head to Emirates Old Trafford, Hampshire sit third and have their eyes on a Championship title.
Coached by former Yorkshire and England all-rounder Craig White, they have the leading wicket-taker in the division - former South Africa Test seamer Kyle Abbott with 35.
They are captained by experienced Australia international George Bailey.
James Vince returns after leading the Lions one-day side against South Africa A.
Hampshire have won matches against Yorkshire, Somerset and Warwickshire, by an innings in their most recent match, this season.
They are bidding for a third win on the bounce, although will have to do it without leg-spinner Mason Crane, who is in England’s senior T20 squad alongside Red Rose ace Liam Livingstone.
LAST TIME OUT
These two played out a high-scoring draw at the Ageas Bowl last August, with Lancashire made to follow-on in reply to 548-6, including a double century for opener Will Smith and an unbeaten 81 for a certain Ryan McLaren.
Despite this, Lancashire had made 387 all out and never realistically looked like losing from there.
They were 310-4 heading into day four and lost their last six wickets for 76, leaving them with a minimum of 58 overs to bat in their second innings. They closed on 102-3 from 52.
In the first innings, Haseeb Hameed scored 89, passing 1,000 career first-class runs along the way in only his 15th innings.
In the second, Hameed hit a superb unbeaten 57 on a pitch which had started to take turn, repelling Liam Dawson and Crane.
Lancashire handed a debut to seamer Saqib Mahmood, who deserved better than 1-121 from 33 overs.
WHAT THEY SAID
Dane Vilas is targeting a maiden four-day hundred for Lancashire as he bids to help strengthen their case for a title bid.
The former South Africa Test wicketkeeper-batsman, minus the gloves this season, has made an impressive start to life with his new county.
He scored two centuries in 408 Royal London one-day Cup runs, and has added two fifties in 256 Championship runs.
The 32-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on a rainy Southport day last Saturday, is pleased with how things have gone ahead of what he expects to be an exciting contest against Hampshire.
“We’ve played some good cricket,” said Vilas. “We’re in mid-table, but it’s quite tight from one to five with regards to the points (18 points separate leaders Essex from Surrey in fifth).
“If we have a good result here, we could shoot right up close to the top.
“Hampshire have played some good cricket. They’ve made some good signings with guys like Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw, who’ve come over on a similar deal to me.
“We’ve come off a good win against Middlesex, who hadn’t lost for a while (it ended a 20-game unbeaten run). That was really positive for us. It should be an exciting clash.
“We had an analysis of what went wrong at Headingley and the guys were open and honest about where we could improve.
“It shows what we’re about that we bounced back immediately.”
On his first two-and-a-half months at Emirates Old Trafford, Vilas added: “It’s been really nice.
“The team have done well, which has been good.
“The club have made it so easy for me, everyone from the coaching staff to the media manager.
“No matter who you are, if you’re a youngster coming into a team or an experienced player who has been elsewhere, you want to get some performances behind your name to show your worth.
“The one-day stuff went really, really well for me, and I was happy with that. But we didn’t make it to the knockout stages, which we wanted to do.
“The four-day stuff, I feel like I’ve been playing well. But there are some really good bowlers around, and I feel like you are never quite in on these wickets, especially early on.
“I haven’t put the runs on the board like I wanted to. I’m still hoping to get that first hundred out of the way.
“Let’s hope it comes against Hampshire.”
The other fixtures taking place in the Specsavers County Championship are:
- Essex v Warwickshire, The Cloudfm County Ground
- Middlesex v Yorkshire, Lord's
Lancashire CCC tickets
Secure your tickets to watch Lancashire in action this season, with tickets available to watch the Specsavers County Championship and NatWest T20 Blast at the iconic Emirates Old Trafford.