Lancashire take charge against Kent
An excellent half century by Luke Wood and important contributions by Rob Jones and Tom Hartley helped Lancashire take a strong grip on this LV= Insurance County Championship match by the end of the third day.
Wood, who hit his career-best 119 earlier in the season at Canterbury, made an invaluable 63 not out to help steer Lancashire to 259-9 and an imposing lead of 185 after the left handed all-rounder had shared half-century partnerships with both Jones and Hartley.
Rain delayed the start of play until 3pm and the Lancashire batsmen settled for steady accumulation of runs throughout the day to build on their overnight lead of 34 runs.
Steven Croft fell early after Darren Stevens nipped one back to hit his off stump but Jones batted steadily in making 47 over two and a half hours and he was joined by Wood in an important partnership of 69 either side of tea.
Left arm spinner James Logan found turn and bounce to have Jones caught at slip by Darren Stevens and then snared Danny Lamb via a top edge for two with Stevens again taking the catch.
That left Lancashire on 190-8 and Wood and Hartley batted determinedly to strengthen the Red Rose advantage during the final hour of the day by adding a valuable 58 runs for the ninth wicket.
Hartley, who had earlier replaced England-bound Matt Parkinson-batted solidly to lend great support before edging Matt Quinn to first slip after making a patient 24.
There was time for James Anderson (8 not out) to twice drive Stevens through extra cover for four as Lancashire reached stumps in a strong position to push for a victory that would seal a place in the Division One play-offs.
Luke Wood reflected on another truncated day’s play after spending most of it out in the middle with the bat.
“At the start of the day we knew we had to accumulate runs,” he said. “And they were good partnerships with Jonesy and Tommy.”
“It’s not the flattest pitch we’ve ever played here and it will certainly get better for the spinners the longer the game goes on.
“So it’s important to score runs but and also take time out of the game to make it more useful for the spinners later.”
“We’ll have a catch up in the morning and see where we are weather-wise but I think we’ll bat on and try to get a two hundred lead if we can and go from there.
“That will put it (the outcome) one way really. A two hundred lead with all day to bowl would be nice.”
Wood smiled when asked if he enjoyed batting against Kent after his century earlier this year.
“It seems that way,” he laughed. “It’s been nice to play some red ball cricket and spend some time in the middle. I hadn’t batted for a long time recently so it was nice to be out there and get some runs.”
Photos: Barry Mitchell