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Late wickets put Lancashire on top against Surrey

Late wickets put Lancashire on top against Surrey

Late wickets put Lancashire on top against Surrey

A flurry of wickets late in the evening have put Lancashire firmly on top after three days of this Specsavers County Championship match, with Surrey losing seven batsmen during the final session to reach the close on 231-9, still 208 runs behind to leave the match intriguingly poised going into the final day.

Joe Mennie and Tom Bailey produced a memorable hour of batting when play got under way in bright sunshine at eleven o’clock. The pair hammered the Surrey bowlers to all parts of Emirates Old Trafford, adding 87 runs to Lancashire’s overnight total of 352-8 during 15 exhilarating overs and breaking a 135-year record with their ninth wicket partnership of 118 runs bettering the previous highest of 96 set by Alex Watson & John Crossland in 1882.

Mennie struck 7 fours in his unbeaten 68-his second consecutive half-century following 56 against Essex last week-while Bailey posted a career-best 66 with 8 fours and a six scored from the ball before he was dismissed, as the pair hit out knowing the declaration was imminent. Amar Virdi picked up Bailey’s wicket from a catch on the mid-wicket boundary to finish with 4-80 with Lancashire calling a halt on 439-9 to make it a demoralising start for visitors.

Their day worsened when Graham Onions dismissed Mark Stoneman, bowled leg stump after moving too far across his stumps, for a duck in the second over but Scott Borthwick survived a big lbw appeal to help Rory Burns steady the innings by adding 98 runs for the second wicket either side of lunch.

The afternoon proved to be tough one for the bowlers with the wicket continued to flatten out and the batsmen playing cautiously, scoring 71 runs from the 33-over session, as the Red Rose attack probed for a breakthrough. The only success, from a Lancashire perspective, was enjoyed by Bailey when he found some movement and the outside edge of Burns’ bat to give Alex Davies a regulation catch to remove the visitors’ skipper for 28.

A third wicket arrived soon after tea when Borthwick’s determined three-hour stay ended when he edged Onions behind for 79 to leave Surrey on 131-3 while Davies, who had appeared to be in some discomfort when catching the ball earlier, was forced from the field for treatment with Dane Vilas taking over behind the stumps for the remainder of the day.

And the perseverance of the Red Rose attack was rewarded with late wickets on a blustery and cold evening.

MATCH CENTRE

Overseas batsman Dean Elgar, who made a century here last season with Somerset, had played some attractive strokes before edging behind to stand-in keeper Vilas off Bailey for 34 while Ben Foakes made the same score but was trapped lbw by Jordan Clark. When Liam Livingstone followed with the wicket of Sam Curran, lbw for 9, and Bailey cleaned up Ollie Pope with the first delivery using the new ball, the visitors’ were suddenly in a spot of trouble on 218-7 still 221 runs behind.

Their plight worsened when Jade Dernbach drove loosely at Bailey but found to Keaton Jennings at gully for 7 and Onions trapped Matt Dunn lbw for 1, with the last five wickets falling for 29 in 14.1 overs.

It was a remarkable conclusion to the day and Tom Bailey thinks there is every chance that Lancashire can push for victory tomorrow.

“I’m confident we can take eleven wickets,” he said. “Hopefully the pitch deteriorates and if we bowl anything like we did today there’s every chance (we can win). We did bowl well on a good wicket.”

Bailey was also quick to acknowledge the contributions of the other members of the bowling attack this season.  

“It doesn’t feel we are relying on one person,” he said. “We’ve got four steady bowlers and we carry the workload well as a unit.”

Talking about his batting partnership with Joe Mennie and career-best score Bailey admitted: “It felt like a flat wicket to me and Joe this morning. So I wasn’t looking forward to bowling on it too much! But there was enough there in the pitch it you got it right, and we did. Hopefully we can get a few more poles tomorrow.

“We knew this morning that the only real way to win this game was to enforce the follow-on. So we aimed to get to 400 and once we got past that point we had a bit of fun! It also means I’ve got to buy a round of beers for the lads tomorrow night,” he laughed.

Hopefully the glasses will be raised to celebrate a win.

Ken Grime
Photo: Simon Pendrigh

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