Lancs endure tough and frustrating first day against Warwickshire
Lancashire endured a tough and frustrating day in the field as Warwickshire compiled 259-3 on the first day of this LV= Insurance County Championship Division One match at Emirates Old Trafford.
Chris Benjamin and Sam Hain rescued their side from a poor start with an excellent double-century partnership to put the visitors in the ascendancy after they had won the toss.
Two Tom Bailey wickets had sent back opening pair Rob Yates and Dom Sibley with just seven runs scored but the Red Rose attack were to then go more than 77 overs before they could celebrate a third success as Benjamin and Hain steadily piled on the runs during the afternoon and evening.
The pair understandably batted with great caution at the start and slowly rebuilt the innings to reach 77-2 at lunch. And with that target reached they batted with increasing confidence and fluency through the afternoon to go to tea at 192-2.
In fact the closest Lancashire came to a breakthrough occurred when Benjamin nearly ran himself out on 33 after pushing a delivery from George Balderson in to the leg side and setting off for a quick single.
The batsman swiftly realised his mistake and had given up attempting to make his ground as the throw from Rob Jones came in from square leg but agonisingly-from a Red Rose viewpoint-the ball just missed the stumps at the bowler's end.
The 22 year-old batsman made the most of his escape to compile a career-best 127, reaching his maiden first-class century shortly after tea from 194 balls
Hain was just as impressive in making his 11th first-class century midway through the evening session.
Dane Vilas varied his attack, with eight bowlers used during the day, and tried a number of fielding changes as the Red Rose attack constantly strove for a breakthrough.
It was a hard toil for the bowlers on a wicket that completely flattened out during the afternoon.
Benjamin and Hain’s 237-run partnership was Warwickshire’s best of the season to date and they were finally parted when Benjamin was hurried by Mahmood, armed with the second new ball, into a mistimed pull that was easily caught by Vilas close to the stumps at the bowlers end.
Will Rhodes joined Hain to steer the Bears through to an early close brought about by bad light with nine overs lost, although most will be hopefully recovered by extending play tomorrow.
And Lancashire suffered a couple of injury scares with Parkinson suffering a cut above his eye after he dived to stop the ball off his own bowling but deflected it on to his face.
Thankfully the leg spinner soon returned after treatment but of greater concern was the injury to Liam Livingstone who damaged his shoulder stopping a boundary soon after tea and left the field for the remainder of the day.
“We knew it was a good wicket,” said Tom Bailey. “We wanted to bat as well.”
“We talk about managing expectations and today was one of those days.
“We’ve kept the run-rate down which is what we wanted to do and that’s the way we will pick up wickets.”
“I was thinking it was going to be a nice short day for me,” he reflected with a smile. “But obviously it wasn’t.”
“It started well but the pitch is a good one. So we’ve just got to come back tomorrow with all guns firing.”
“I thought (Benjamin & Hain) played really well. That’s not to take anything away from our bowlers, because I thought we bowled well too.”
“But we didn’t get anything from the pitch
“That new ball went after ten overs. It felt like a sock for the other seventy!
“So It was nice to see that second new ball.”
And Bailey added: “We’ve still got a chance to finish strongly tomorrow.”
“If we can get a couple of early wickets tomorrow morning we are right back in it”.
Photos: Barry Mitchell