Alex Davies leads Lancashire's fight back with century
Alex Davies made his first century of the season to provide some much-needed resistance for Lancashire on the second afternoon at Wantage Road. Davies’ 124 not out glued together the visitors’ reply to Northamptonshire's 442 as they closed day two 211 for 4.
Davies’ season has been badly interrupted by a finger injury picked up while keeping wicket in the opening match of the season at Middlesex. This is his fifth match of the summer but he immediately looked in good touch and went on to make a fifth first-class hundred.
It was a vital innings with Lancashire forced to battle back after conceding by far their highest total of the summer. That pressure only increased when the Red Rose slipped to 2 for 2 in the fifth over of the reply but Davies found his touch with a smart cover drive against Brett Hutton and then tucked into some loose bowling from Nathan Buck, cutting merrily for several of his 10 fours as he passed fifty in only 59 deliveries.
Luke Procter regained control and created a sharp chance from Davies, on 70, who miscued a straight drive back to the bowler but the ball burst through his hands above his head.
After tea, Davies was quick to capitalise on anything slightly wide from Rob Keogh’s off-spin and it was a cut stroke against Keogh, his 17th boundary, that brought him a century in 151 balls.
For much of the afternoon, Davies had Rob Jones for company. Jones never settled as well and played and missed regularly and was also dropped, on 27, gloving a hook against Procter that Adam Rossington couldn’t gather behind the wicket leaping above his head.
Jones did not want Keogh to settle at the start of his spell but in the off-spinner’s second over, advanced down the wicket and dragged a lofted drive to mid-on where Procter dived to his right to take a fine catch. It ended a stand of 127 for the third wicket.
Josh Bohannon edged Keogh to first slip soon after as Lancashire slipped to 131 for 4 but Steven Croft arrived to calmly steer his side to the close, unbeaten on 38 in a stand of 80 for the fifth wicket with Davies.
Lancashire were plunged into deep trouble at the start of their reply, losing two wickets in the opening five overs. Keaton Jennings edged Ben Sanderson to second slip for a nine-ball duck before Haseeb Hameed fell for an eight-ball naught, dragging Sanderson into his leg stump.
It continued an excellent opening period of the day for the home side who took their overnight 334 for 5 to 442 - despite slipping to 352 for 8 - with Luke Procter making 48 not out against his old county as Lancashire missed out on maximum bowling points for the first time in 2019.
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