Onions grabs four wickets against Hampshire on first day
Four wickets by Graham Onions and a James Vince century and were the features of an opening day battle for supremacy between Lancashire and Hampshire in this Specsavers County Championship clash.
Vince produced a fine century before falling to Stephen Parry while Onions took 4-64 with at least one wicket in each session to help peg back the visitors who reached the close on 302-6.
Lancashire made two changes from the team that played at Worcester last week with Danny Lamb, who subbed for the injured Joe Mennie at New Road, retaining his place and Arron Lilley coming in for his first match of the season in place of Shivnarine Chanderpaul who has returned home for personal reasons.
Hampshire won the toss and chose to bat, with the game played on the same pitch used 24 hours earlier by England and Australia in the one-day international.
And Lancashire had an early breakthrough when Joe Weatherley edged Onions behind to Dane Vilas for a duck, the ball seaming away and finding the edge.
Jordan Clark was unlucky when Vince gave a difficult chance at extra cover off a leading edge when on 20 and the visitors made the most of that escape with Jimmy Adams helping Vince build the second wicket partnership steadily throughout the rest of the first session.
Vince struck a straight six off Parry in the 22nd over and played several lovely cover drives on his way to a half century from 66 balls. The century partnership arrived shortly afterwards off 140 balls as Hampshire reached lunch on 113-1.
Onions struck in the first over after the break, nipping the ball back to take out Adams’ middle stump without the batsman adding to his lunchtime 44.
But Vince powered on to reach a fine century from 131 balls when sweeping to register his fifteenth four.
It took a great delivery from Stephen Parry to dislodge the Hampshire skipper for 103, the left-arm spinner turning a delivery from middle and leg past Vince’s forward push to hit off stump.
That left the visitors on 187-6 shortly before tea and Onions struck with his third wicket soon after the break when Tom Alsop chopped on for 15.
Sam Northeast battled away to make 41 but he fell to a good catch low down at gully by Rob Jones off Clark to make it 235-5.
Rilee Rossouw and Ian Holland rallied with a 61-run partnership during the final part of the day, Rossouw smashing three consecutive boundaries to get his innings off to a flying start and the left-hander went on to reach his half century from just 58 balls, hitting 9 fours.
Holland became Onions’s fourth victim when edging the new ball behind to Vilas for 24 but Rossouw was still there at the close on 54 not out with Ollie Rayner 0 not out and Hampshire on 302-6.
It was a long hot day in the field for Lancashire’s bowlers but Graham Onions felt the bowler’s had enjoyed a reasonable day after losing the toss this morning.
“We’ve done some pretty good things today,” he said.
“At times we conceded a few boundaries but we are still a learning side. We are trying our best to get results and I think there has been a lot of character in what we’ve shown today.
“If we could have got one more (wicket) we might have said it had been our day.
“We’ve got to turn up tomorrow and aim to put them on the back foot straight away.
“We’ve got the characters and we’ve got the abilities and the skill. It’s just not happening for us at the moment. Obviously Worcester (last week) was tough. We lost some tricky periods there and were on the back foot.
“It’s up to us to try and bowl well tomorrow, show some character with the ball because it was hot out there today on a pretty good pitch.
“I think the mentality that we came with after tea in trying to bowl dot balls and try and tie them down as much as possible was good.
“It’s one of those wickets where if you bowl pretty straight and attack the stumps you’ve got a chance of taking wickets and creating pressure. And I thought we did that well after tea.
“I thought Jordan bowled nicely, in fact I thought we all did. The spinners got stuck in pretty well considering they had the best of the wicket so far. I still think it will be a good wicket tomorrow. Potentially it might go down a little bit as the game goes on.
“I think we are in a position where if we turn up all guns blazing we can put ourselves in a good place.”
Photo: Barry Mitchell