Vilas and Davies centuries help Lancashire draw level
Centuries from Alex Davies and Dane Vilas plus 82 by Jordan Clark made it a good day for Lancashire as they drew themselves back on more or less level terms with Hampshire on another red hot day at Emirates Old Trafford.
It was an excellent batting performance by Lancashire who were eventually all out for 411 and only 40 runs behind on first innings.
And there was time for Graham Onions and Tom Bailey to pick up a wicket apiece to leave Hampshire on 66-2, and ahead by 106 runs going in to the final day.
Resuming his innings on 78, Davies was away quickly with a boundary from the sixth ball of the morning.
Otherwise it proved to be cagey start with just 30 runs scored in the first hour as both teams recognised the potential importance of the morning session towards determining the outcome of this game.
Vilas, on 37 overnight, steered Kyle Abbott to the third man ropes to reach his fifty from 114 balls, and his sixth boundary also brought up the 100 partnership off 204 balls.
And Davies went to his ton by square cutting Ollie Rayner to register his 14th four from 176 balls faced as Lancashire made a really good start to the day reaching 208-3 thirty minutes before lunch.
That was the point when Davies cut a wide Ian Holland delivery straight into the hands of Rilee Rossouw at gully, much to his evident frustration, to be out for 115, ending an excellent and vital fourth wicket partnership of 138.
Vilas powered on, reverse sweeping Rayner for four, on his way to reaching his third Red Rose century by thumping Rayner for consecutive boundaries straight after the interval and moving Lancashire up to 251-4.
A further four off Berg two overs later saw the fifty partnership arrive from 86 balls with Jordan Clark, who got off the mark with a thumping cover drive off Holland, playing much the supporting role at that stage as Lancashire steadily closed in on the follow-on target of 302.
A six by Clark off Rayner saw that milestone reached in the 96th over and the pair dominated the afternoon as they extended their alliance to 112 before Vilas was lbw to Kyle Abbott for a magnificent 134 with Lancashire 320-5 in 95th over.
After Danny Lamb was lbw to Ollie Rayner for 3 an enterprising stand of 58 in 10 overs between Clark and Arron Lilley looked like taking the Red Rose to maximum batting points.
Lilley hit five fours in his 28 off 31 balls before edging Ian Holland behind to Tom Alsop and Hampshire, dropping fielders deep, managed to strangle the run scoring to restrict Lancashire to 394-7.
Agonisingly Clark was run out for 82 from a direct hit by James Vince as the last three wickets fell for 17 runs just after tea to leave Lancashire only forty runs behind on 411 all out.
Onions trapped Jimmy Adams lbw for 4 with the score on 12 and Vilas took a good catch down the leg side off Tom Bailey to dismiss Vince for 18 as the visitors reached 66-2 in their second innings at stumps.
Dane Vilas was pleased how the third day had gone from both a personal and team point of view.
“It was really good to have a nice knock and get some runs,” he said.
“And it was nice to spend some time in the middle with Al (Davies). I thought he batted incredibly well. He really helped me along.
“It was a good day (overall) but a bit disappointing to fall behind (Hampshire). But I was happy with the runs we put up and the fight we showed.
“We were hoping to try and get a lead and see where tomorrow takes us. It didn’t pan out like that.
Lancashire just fell short of achieving maximum batting points and were six runs away when the overs ran out.
“Trying to get that extra bonus point would have been really nice,” admitted Vilas.
“I thought the way we went about it was quite mature. We didn’t try and smash the boundaries, we just tried to run it and get a few singles and the odd two.
“Unfortunately we lost a couple of wickets in the process which was a bit disappointing because we would have liked to have taken that in to tea and hopefully bat through the last session.
But Vilas still feels there is an opportunity to get something out of this game.
“A lot can happen in the morning session,” he said. “If we get a couple of early wickets, they are not too far ahead. Anything can happen.
“We will see how it goes tomorrow. It’s going to be tough but I think we’ve got the bowlers who can do it. We want to go and push for a good result. It’s hard work for the bowlers but I think there is still something in the wicket.
This will be Vilas’ final game as captain with Liam Livingstone returning next week and he said:
“I feel very privileged to have captained Lancashire. It’s incredible. The guys in the changing room have been unbelievable in the support they have given me.
“All the help I’ve had from the guys around me has been really good. I’ve loved the experience and will be a bit jealous of Livi when he comes back! But I’ve been happy to help out and it’s been a really good.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh