Croft and Onions impress against Derbyshire
Graham Onions and Jimmy Anderson tore through Derbyshire as Lancashire tightened their grip on the Division Two match at Derby.
Onions took his 700th First Class wicket in the process when he bowled Wayne Madsen for 9.
On another day dominated by the bowlers, Luis Reece took 6 for 58 before Steven Croft’s unbeaten 53, his highest championship innings since April last year, steered Lancashire to 236 and a lead of 83.
Onions then struck three times as he and Anderson reduced Derbyshire to 19 for 4 before the weather closed in with the home side still 64 runs adrift.
Derbyshire had earlier exploited the overcast conditions with disciplined bowling that dried up the flow of runs and reduced Lancashire to 134 for 6 before Croft guided his side to a significant lead.
Saqib Mahmood fulfilled his nightwatchman duties by batting for 40 minutes until Reece found his outside edge and his tight line finally did for Alex Davies who was caught at second slip.
Haseeb Hameed struggled, facing 33 balls for nine before Reece found enough movement to take the edge and although Liam Livingstone batted aggressively, Derbyshire were back in business after lunch.
Livingstone steered Logan van Beek to second slip and Sam Connors claimed his first championship wicket when Rob Jones was lbw to a full length swinging delivery.
But Derbyshire’s chances of restricting Lancashire’s lead were dashed by Croft and Dane Vilas who added 50 in 13 overs before Reece returned to have the skipper lbw playing across another full length ball.
When Josh Bohannon drove loosely to cover, the lead was only 33 but Croft and Onions secured the only batting point of the match and Derbyshire’s frustration grew when Billy Godleman dropped Croft on 34 at mid off.
Onions sliced Ravi Rampaul to cover in the first over after tea but Anderson made sure Croft reached 50 and even reverse-swept Matt Critchley for four before Rampaul had him lbw.
The light was now poor enough for the floodlights to be switched on and in testing conditions, Derbyshire crumbled to Onions and Anderson.
Tom Lace, who made his maiden first-class hundred last week, was promoted to open but feathered Onions first ball down the leg side and the former England fast bowler struck again in his third over.
Wayne Madsen missed a drive and was bowled for nine and after beating the bat several times, Anderson pinned. Godleman lbw for five.
Anderson and Onions were now almost unplayable and after only two runs were added in five overs Leus du Plooy was lbw before the umpires took the players off the field for bad light and rain.
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