Lancs facing tough run chase at Southport
Lancashire require another 306 runs to win this Specsavers County Championship match with all 10 second-innings remaining following a second eventful day at Southport that saw fifteen wickets fall once again.
Worcestershire were bowled out for 252 late in the day and Lancashire had to face 3 overs with nightwatchman Toby Lester and Haseeb Hameed successfully negotiating their way to the close on 8-0.
At the start of the day Lancashire resumed their first innings on 96-5 but lost their final five wickets for the addition of only 65 runs inside 15 overs on the second morning to hand Worcestershire a 61-run lead.
Josh Tongue and Wayne Parnell both took two wickets, Tongue claiming the first of the day when nightwatchman Lester fended a short delivery to Ben Twohig at cover after making 8.
Josh Bohannon departed for 13 after being beaten by a superb throw by Ed Barnard as the batsman thought about, fatally, attempting a third run after he had late cut Parnell to third man.
Parnell then took two wickets in one over to remove Tom Bailey and Keshav Maharaj before Tongue collected his fifth wicket of the innings when Jordan Clark, who had hit out effectively for his 27 as the wickets tumbled, hooked to fine leg where Dillon Pennington took a well-judged catch just inside the boundary.
The Worcestershire batsmen found life no easier as the wicket continued to provide bounce and movement, Bailey producing a fine spell of 3-20 from the Grosvenor Road end in the run-up to lunch.
The Lancashire paceman took his season tally to 48 wickets by trapping Daryl Mitchell lbw for 7, Joe Clarke-who missed one that nipped back between bat and pad-bowled for 2 while Tom Fell was well caught by a diving Alex Davies at point for 14 to leave the visitors on 44-3 at the break.
And Lancashire enjoyed further success early in the afternoon when Brett D’Oliveira received a Graham Onions delivery that jagged away to find an edge snared by Dane Vilas after the Worcestershire skipper had made 14.
But any Red Rose joy soon evaporated as Ben Cox and Alex Milton battled away through the middle of the day to add a vital 61 runs in the afternoon sun.
It was Maharaj who eventually made a double breakthrough trapping Cox lbw for 40 and Milton caught behind by Vilas for 37 with Worcestershire 130-6.
Barnard and Parnell kept the scoreboard ticking over with another very useful partnership adding 44 runs either side of tea before Parnell was tempted to pull a short ball from Onions only to be well caught by Haseeb Hameed on the mid-wicket boundary for 24.
And the good contributions from the visitors’ lower order continued as each of the last three wicket partnerships each contributed 26 runs to take the Worcestershire lead beyond 300.
Parnell was chiefly responsible with an excellent 50 before he was ninth out after being snapped up at short leg by Rob Jones off Maharaj after receiving good support from Twohig who was caught behind by Vilas off Onions for 14.
Tongue made 20 before edging behind off Lester and Pennington also contributed a useful 15 not out to the visitors 252 all out with Bailey, Onions and Maharaj all taking three wickets.
Lancashire face a huge task tomorrow and following the great effort to chase a winning target at the Oval in the last match Graham Onions is backing the batters to go one better.
“Have they got too many?,” he said at the close. “We’ll just have to wait and see.
“From a batting side, I back our batters to go out there and chase this down. We haven’t had a particularly great season with regard to scoring heavy runs but we have got to believe that we are going to score those runs tomorrow.
“Once we get rid of the new ball I think we have got a chance of scoring heavy runs. I back our batters to go out there and score the runs.”
Looking back at another event filled day he added:
“I think we have given it a good crack.
“This morning obviously didn’t go to plan. It would have been nice to have batted at least a session.
“I think the way all the bowlers applied themselves to try and give us a chance to bowl them out, we’ve done that.”
Lancashire have managed to take wickets regularly this season but have struggled for runs, and Onions also added:
“I think we have the attack, and if we scored a large volume of runs we would win games. It is what it is, I know a lot of the members and supporters are disappointed but we are trying very, very hard.
“We’ve had a season where we have had opportunities to win a lot of games. We have put ourselves in positions but haven’t got close.
“We have to keep on believing, keep practicing. I think realistically we need to win two out of four (remaining games). Three out of four would be amazing.
“It hasn’t clicked for the batsmen, it’s something we review every game but will review at the end of the season as well.
“Sometimes you try too hard, you try hard because you want to be that person who turns the season around.
“We have got some great talent and skill in the dressing room. It’s a tough season but tough seasons make cricketers in a way.”
Photos: Simon Pendrigh