Jennings century as Lancs dominate Roses match
Keaton Jennings struck his fourth Lancashire century and Luke Wells made his highest score this season to steer the Red Rose into a very strong position after two days of this LV= Insurance County Championship match.
Their second-wicket partnership of 175 dominated the day which ended with Group 3 leaders Lancashire on 350-6 leading by 191 runs and in a great position to push for a first Roses Championship win since 2011 in the remaining two days.
Jennings and Wells, resuming on 22 and 11 respectively with Lancashire 95-1 at the start of play, continued to build their partnership slowly and steadily during the morning, batting through the session and both were generally untroubled throughout, not taking or offering any chances.
It was fairly attritional cricket at times, redolent of Roses matches from the past with Lancashire looking to build a big lead while Yorkshire hunted for a breakthrough and determined to give nothing away.
Lunch arrived with Lancashire 150-1 and virtually level, Jennings reaching his half century just before the break.
Having achieved parity there was clear intent to accelerate the scoring in the afternoon, Wells driving Dom Bess handsomely for four to take Lancashire ahead and Jennings producing several fine drives of his own as the pair pushed on.
Duanne Olivier at one point resorted to a series of short balls with a five man leg side field to Jennings hoping to tempt the Red Rose opener into an injudicious shot with two men set back in the deep.
But Jennings and Wells moved smoothly onwards, taking their alliance past 150 and both reaching milestones; Wells going to his first Lancashire half century when hitting Bess for four and Jennings reaching his first century since 2018, an unbeaten 146 for England against Sri Lanka at Galle, with a drive through extra cover off Jordan Thompson.
How good it was to see both efforts rewarded with an ovation from the crowd.
Keaton Jennings admitted to be relieved to reach three figures for the first time since 2018 today.
“I’ve felt good for a period of time,” he said. “But it just hasn’t quite clicked. I suppose that’s the nature of top order batting in England.
“You have to stay mentally strong and trust where you are, trust the eyes of of those around you to get you through those tough periods, which can happen.
“But it was just really nice and lucky to have put the team in a good position.”
And Jennings mentioned how tough he had found it starting his innings yesterday.
“I felt quite mentally drained,” he admitted. “It was a tough day with the game moving forward quite quickly in the first session.
“That one session to bat (in the evening) can be quite hard work.
“So the first two hours (today) we had to make sure we put ourselves into a position where we were able to push forward and I thought Wellsy played beautifully.”
The new ball brought a flurry of boundaries but yielded three immediate wickets for the toiling Yorkshire attack who, to their credit, battled away all day.
Both Jennings and Wells fell to catches at first slip by Tom Kohler-Cadmore; Jennings off Ben Coad for an excellent 114 and Wells for a Lancashire-best 60 off Jordan Thompson. Their 175-run partnership came off 66.4 overs and had put the Red Rose firmly in the driving seat.
Jennings was a bit frustrated not to have kicked on after reaching his century.
“Unfortunately we both got out at the same time to the new ball,” he said.
“If one of us had got through that period it would have meant we could have put ourselves in a position where we had a massive stronghold on the game.”
Liam Livingstone fell for 6 after pulling Thompson to Olivier at mid-on but Dane Vilas and Josh Bohannon batted with real intent after tea, Vilas twice hitting Patterson for boundaries and Bohannon cutting Duanne Olivier for four.
The pair both hit Bess for sixes before Vilas fell for 35 off 47 balls when he top-edged a sweep off Coad and was well caught by Kohler-Cadmore running back from slip.
Bohannon held the innings together after his captain’s departure and that of Luke Wood for 7, ending the day unbeaten on 47 alongside Danny Lamb (4 not out) with Lancashire well placed to push on in the morning.
But Jennings can look back an excellent day’s work.
“It was really good fun,” he reflected. “It’s my first Roses hundred which is good.”
“Hopefully tomorrow morning we can really push the game forward. If we can nail the first session tomorrow we can put ourselves in a really good position to win this game.
“It is a good surface, but it can be hard work to score runs against the new ball. We need to make sure we are right on it from the first ball tomorrow.
“We’ve got guys who can move the ball both ways. There’s going to be more rough areas that will allow our spinners to try and hit and attack that rough.
“Bessy today got a couple of balls to the right handers that did bounce and spit, and that’s the nature of playing here. Hopefully our guys can hit them and create some panic.”
Photos: Barry Mitchell & Luke Adams