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Northants dominate on Day One at Wantage Road

Northants dominate on Day One at Wantage Road

Temba Bavuma made his first century in county cricket as Northamptonshire enjoyed a fabulous opening day against Lancashire at Wantage Road. Bavuma’s 103 lit up the afternoon as Northants closed 334 for 5.

Bavuma had only made one half-century in 11 innings before this but played with pleasant fluency to reach a 13th first-class century, making the first hundred against Lancashire this season, as Northants enjoyed a dream day having been sent in.

When the second new ball was taken, Bavuma had 86 and it appeared a tricky passage to three figures would follow. Bavuma responded with sheer audacity. Onions, in the second over, sent down two perfectly respectable length balls a fraction wide of off stump. Bavuma responded by lifting both of them over extra-cover for six. No-one could quite believe it.

Bavuma then shuffled slightly across his stumps to work his 13th boundary to fine leg and raise his century in 125 balls. The ovation was the loudest in Northampton since the end of the rugby season.

The South African international arrived with his side in a mid-afternoon wobble. Ricardo Vaconcelos and Richard Levi moved the hosts to 134 for 1 but three wickets went down for just 20 in 29 balls and Bavuma was required to rebuild the innings.

He began by rocking back to pull the left-arm spin of Stephen Parry over midwicket for four before repeating the stroke in a bigger hit for six. He settled into a usual pattern of stealing clever singles and running with great purpose but most of his innings before this had ended just after this settling period.

It almost did again. Onions nipped a good length ball back at the right-hander who shouldered arms and was struck high on the knee roll of his front pad. Umpire Chris Watt turned down a raucous appeal - not for the first time in the day - and Onions threw a right fist at the turf. Umpire Watt and his colleague David Milns consulted with Lancashire captain Dane Vilas to consider their response.

But having enjoyed a moment of fortune, Bavuma weaved Keaton Jennings between extra-cover and mid-off for four in the over before tea and to the final ball of the session, cut his eighth four to reach 50 in 69 balls.

After tea, the careful accumulation against Parry continued and he carved Josh Bohannon, who was struggling after a knock to his left knee, backward of point to raise a second batting point before rushing to a century agains the second new ball.

But having reached his hundred, later in the over Bavuma got carried away, drove at another length ball from Onions and edged to Villas. Onions gave him a perfectly-understandable send off.

The stand of 149 between Bavuma and Rossington grabbed the day for Northants after the earlier work between Vasconcelos and Levi ended when very well placed.

Vasconcelos, who went past fifty for a fifth time this season in 70 balls with nine boundaries, miscued a leg-side flick against Parry and lobbed a catch to midwicket before Levi, playing his first Championship match of the season, drove Onions to point for 38.

When Rob Keogh was then bowled by Onions for just 6, Lancashire were battling back into the day only for Bavuma and Rossington, who pulled Bohannon just over the head of deep midwicket for six in making an unbeaten 76, to ensure the honours belonged to Northants.

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