Lancashire fightback against Warwickshire
Lancashire fought their way back into this LV= Insurance County Championship Division One match with a determined display on the second day at Emirates Old Trafford.
After the bowlers had combined well to take seven wickets for the addition of 112 runs and dismiss Warwickshire for 371, a delightful half-century by Josh Bohannon in a 94-run partnership with Luke Wells has helped take the Red Rose to 100-1 by the close.
Lancashire, facing a marathon 44-over session when embarking on their reply, lost George Balderson, opening in the absence of the injured Keaton Jennings, lbw to Liam Norwell without scoring, but Bohannon was quickly into his stride getting off the mark with a cover drive for four.
He added eight more boundaries on his way to a 73-ball fifty-his sixth in 13 first-class innings this season-with a really impressive display that included shots all around the wicket, exemplified in one over from Craig Miles that the Boltonian despatched for three fours to wide mid-on, mid-wicket and extra cover respectively.
His later drive through extra cover off Chemar Holder seemed effortless and was probably the shot of the day with Bohannon unbeaten on 59 at stumps.
Wells settled in to provide solid support, contributing an unbeaten 35 to their 94-run partnership that has put Lancashire in good shape to make further inroads to the 271-run deficit on the third day.
Earlier the Red Rose attack worked hard to dismiss Warwickshire by tea on the second day after the visitors resumed their innings on 259-3.
Tom Bailey and Saqib Mahmood both claimed an early wicket to put the visitors on the back foot at the start of the day.
Bailey (3-53) trapped Sam Hain lbw in the fourth over for 118 and Mahmood took out one of Will Rhodes stumps with a searing delivery after the Warwickshire captain had made 10.
But in a repeat of the first day the visitors fought back to reach lunch without further loss, albeit the scoring rate was slow with just 58 runs coming from 32 overs as the Lancashire attack bowled a tight line.
Matthew Lamb and Michael Burgess picked up the pace as the 110-over cut off for bonus points approached, but it could be argued they also misjudged the moment, falling two runs short when the run rate required-25 off the last ten overs-was eminently gettable.
In contrast five wickets fell in the afternoon as the Lancashire bowlers finally received some reward for all their hard work.
Burgess went for 26 soon after lunch, smashing a waist high full toss from Matt Parkinson straight up in the air and caught by Wells who didn’t have to move from first slip.
The same combination struck again when Briggs top edged a reverse sweep that was well-clutched by a leaping Wells before Lamb was bowled for 36 after aiming a big heave towards mid-wicket off the leg spinner who finished with 3-96.
Mahmood polished off the tail trapping both Miles and Holder lbw for 11 and 6 respectively to finish with 4-77 on what proved to be quite an attritional day’s play.
It was certainly a hard one for the bowlers, something acknowledged by Saqib Mahmood at the close.
“We’ve had some pretty flat wickets here,” he said. “But I think this is the flattest of the lot.
“I thought we stuck at it brilliantly this morning after a tough day yesterday,” he added.
“From the position they were in, to react the way we did today taking 7 for 112 was an amazing fightback.”
“There were periods in the game where it was a case of making them go nowhere (with their run scoring).
“We spoke last night about how it would be amazing if we could restrict them to around 350.
Saqib smiled when asked about being unlucky yesterday and bouncing back with his four wicket haul on such a tough deck.
“I think you could tell even from far away that I was pleased,” he replied.
“It was quite frustrating yesterday. We stuck at it quite well. There were a lot of playing and missing and some lbw shouts. But we got the rewards today.
This first four-day game back from a plethora of one-day action has meant quite a transition for everyone, with Mahmood laughing: “six ball overs are quite hard!”
“These have been the first days ‘back in the dirt’ since May,” he explained.
“So I was slightly stiff this morning! But it has been good to get overs back in the bank.
“The wickets here at Old Trafford, with the quality of the wickets, makes them hard, tough overs,” he said.
“The square is like concrete. You have to bowl the ball hard into the wicket and there’s not much margin for error.
“From a skills point of view that takes some getting used to and you have to adjust (from white ball cricket).
“The longer it went on (yesterday) the more I felt the guys got used to that again. It’s as easy as just going from one format to another, there’s lots of different skills involved.”
Mahmood is hoping the batsmen can push on tomorrow.
“I’m hoping to put my feet up tomorrow and watch us bat,” he grinned.
“We know how good a wicket it is, so if we can bat big, who knows what could happen on day four?
“But before that we’ve got a big day in store tomorrow with the bat.”
Photos: George Franks