Jennings century gives Lancashire hope
England opener Keaton Jennings scored his third Specsavers County Championship century of the season as Lancashire launched a strong response after being set a mammoth 602 victory target by Worcestershire at Blackfinch New Road.
But the home side were still edging towards a first Championship win of the season after the visitors closed on 269-4 with interim skipper Brett D’Oliveira and Charlie Morris picking up two wickets apiece.
Jennings, who was recalled to the England side for the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley earlier this month, profited from being dropped on 50 at first slip by Ross Whiteley off Worcestershire’s interim captain Brett D’Oliveira.
He went to three figures off 166 balls with his 20th boundary – a slice down to third man off Ed Barnard.
It followed on from his hundreds against Somerset and Nottinghamshire last month after his winter move from Durham.
Apart from his one blemish, Jennings was largely untroubled on a wicket offering little assistance and he ended unbeaten on 135 from 215 balls with 23 fours.
Alex Davies helped Jennings put together a century opening stand after the Red Rose county set off in pursuit of their daunting target half an hour before lunch on the third day after D’Oliveira declared his side’s second innings at 484-7.
Jennings and Davies safely negotiated a tricky eight overs before the interval and then dealt primarily in boundaries and were content to mix solid defence with punishing the loose deliveries.
Both registered a half century within one over of each other.
Davies was first to the 50 mark off 68 balls with 12 fours and Jennings followed him there from 97 deliveries with 10 boundaries.
It was only after D’Oliveira brought himself into the attack that the Lancashire duo started to look uncomfortable.
Jennings experienced his let off in D’Oliveira’s first over but he broke through in his next over when Davies on 64 rocked back to play the cut shot and was trapped lbw with the total on 126.
Haseeb Hameed accompanied Jennings in a stand of 58 but after making 20 he shouldered arms and became D’Oliveira’s second leg before victim.
Paceman Charlie Morris then had West Indian legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul (28) caught behind after he prodded forward after adding 50 with Jennings.
The persevering Morris enjoyed another success with Rob Jones (10) also nicking through to Cox.
The home had resumed on 361-4 and added 123 runs in 17 overs for the loss of three wickets before the declaration with wicket-keeper batsman Ben Cox unbeaten on 58 from 45 balls with three sixes and five fours.
Danny Lamb opened the bowling for Lancashire as the first concussion replacement player in English cricket.
He joined the action after paceman Joe Mennie was diagnosed with mild concussion which has resulted in him taking no further part in the game after being hit by a return drive yesterday from Worcestershire opener Martin Guptill.
Lancashire paceman Tom Bailey struck two early blows as he bowled Joe Clarke (10) and trapped D’Oliveira (22) lbw.
Ross Whiteley hit a typically quickfire 23 before he lofted Jordan Clark into the hands of Bailey at wide mid off.
Cox continued the form he had demonstrated in the Royal London One-Day Cup, twice hitting Bailey over the mid wicket boundary and repeating the shot against Clark before the declaration.