Late wickets dent Lancashire’s day
Lancashire produced a fine display to bowl LV= Insurance County Championship leaders Hampshire out for 143 before suffering an early setback in their reply to leave the outcome of this match, and the destination of the title, very much in the balance after an enthralling first day at Liverpool.
In the other Division One games, the other challengers Warwickshire made 283-4 against Somerset while Notts are 292-9 in their match with Yorkshire.
Matt Parkinson admitted to a feeling of “mixed fortunes” after the opening day.
“We bowled very well and at one point I thought I wouldn’t get a bowl,” he admitted. “But it was nice to contribute.”
“But to lose three wickets wasn’t ideal.”
Hampshire opted to play three spinners and Parkinson added: “I think it will spin. We back Wellsy to be our second spinner, and I was surprised they chose three (spinners). We’ll see how it goes.”
“The first hour tomorrow will be massive. We’re just going to try and push on past their score.”
Parkinson admitted it’s been hard not to look at the scores in the other matches.
“I know the Bears have had a decent day,” he admitted.
“But the main thing we can focus on is here. As long as we win it gives us our best chance (of the title). You never know how the other results will go.”
It was a day where Lancashire bowled themselves into a good position after Dane Vilas won the toss with four wickets in each of the first two sessions.
Tom Bailey struck in the third over when Ian Holland played forward defensively and inside-edged via his pad to Vilas at short leg to give Lancashire a perfect start with just two runs scored.
But despite a number of close calls that just failed to find an edge, Joe Weatherley and Tom Alsop battled hard and managed to keep the Red Rose attack at bay.
The pair had advanced the score to 43 before the introduction of George Balderson into the attack dramatically changed the nature of the morning.
Tom Alsop edged Balderson to second slip where Danny Lamb took a really good catch low down and four balls later Nick Gubbins edged a defensive shot behind to Alex Davies.
And Balderson, bowling a lovely line and length, made it three wickets in 11 balls when Weatherley nicked an edge to Davies for 18 with a stunned Hampshire in trouble on 48-4.
James Vince and Liam Dawson survived until lunch and had slowly moved the score along to 71-4 before two wickets fell in the same Bailey over.
The first came when the tall fast bowler reacted quickly to a straight drive from Vince, diving and deflecting the ball onto the stumps at the bowler's end to run out a stranded Dawson for 10.
Four balls later Bailey was celebrating a big wicket when Vince rather wafted at a ball outside off stump and edged to Davies after making a 42-ball 16.
The wicketkeeper then pulled a brilliant one-handed diving catch when Keith Barked edged Luke Wood down the leg side, Davies at full stretch when he gloved the ball with Hampshire in deep trouble on 91-7.
Mason Crane and Felix Organ pushed that score on to 120 before Parkinson tempted Organ into a big heave at the last ball of his third over, the resulting top edge falling to Josh Bohannon at cover after the batsman had-until that point-made a very steady 22 off 63 balls.
Parkinson duly wrapped up the tail to finish with 3-9, Brad Wheal lbw for 5 and Crane caught by Wood at long-off for the top score of the innings with 25.
But Lancashire made a faltering start with the bat to be in early trouble themselves before closing the day on 25-3.
Mohammad Abbas straightened a delivery off the pitch to knock back the off stump of Davies for 2 while Wells was lbw to Barker for 0.
Balderson edged behind off Abbas to leave the Red Rose side on 15-3 before Bohannon (11 not out) and nightwatchman Jack Blatherwick (4 not out) negotiated their way to stumps with Lancashire trailing by 118 runs.
As Parkinson said, it will be a hugely important first hour tomorrow.
Photos: Barry Mitchell & Luke Adams