Match Preview: Lancashire v Glamorgan
Unbeaten Lancashire host Glamorgan at Emirates Old Trafford
LV= Insurance County Championship
Thursday May 6 - Sunday May 9, 2021, 11am
Emirates Old Trafford
Lancashire head into their fifth game of the season flying high at the top of Group Three.
Their position at the summit was strengthened by a stunning five-wicket win over Sussex at Hove last week, when Dane Vilas and co recovered from conceding a 98-run lead on first innings.
Tom Bailey’s three wickets led the way as each of a five-man attack struck to bowl the hosts out for 154 in their second innings to set a 253 target, a chase which started during the later stages of day three.
Opener Alex Davies hit a counter-attacking 73 to break the back of the chase before it was anchored by an unbeaten 91 from Keaton Jennings.
The 20-point haul ensured Lancashire, even at this early stage in the season, took a significant step towards qualifying - as one of the top two in the group - for the leading group during the final stages of the season in August and September.
They are six points clear of Yorkshire in second place, who have also won three and drawn one. The gap between Lancashire and third-placed Sussex is 31 points.
The Red Rose now face a Glamorgan side who will be confident too having hammered Kent inside two days at Cardiff last week.
James Anderson’s been included in Lancashire's 13-man squad for the first time this season, with the England bowler having missed the last two games with a calf injury.
Rob Jones drops out of an otherwise unchanged squad from the win over Sussex.
Captained by wicketkeeper batsman Chris Cooke and coached by Matthew Maynard, Glamorgan have won one, lost two and drawn one of the opening four Group Three fixtures.
They were denied victory against Yorkshire largely because of snow at Headingley during the opening round before losing against Northamptonshire away and Sussex at home.
Last time out, however, they hammered Kent by 10 wickets inside two days at their Sophia Gardens home, with seamers Timm van der Gugten, Michael Hogan and David Lloyd all taking either five or six wickets in the match.
All-rounder Lloyd, who also opens the batting, scored 62 in the first innings - the only fifty in a match which saw no side reach 200.
Australian Test batting star Marnus Labuschagne has only recently started his second spell as the county’s overseas. Seamer Michael Neser, also an Aussie, is their second overseas, but he did not play against Kent.
Joe Root’s younger brother Billy, a left-handed batsman, is proving to be a linchpin of their top order. He scored a century at Headingley in the opening round, reaching three figures off his brother’s off-spin.
In last season’s Bob Willis Trophy, Glamorgan finished bottom of the Central Group - without a win in five games.
Dane Vilas was the star of Lancashire’s 2019 victory over Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay, amassing a fabulous first-innings 266.
The captain’s career best score underpinned a 545 total as Lancashire replied to Glamorgan’s 257. It was an innings which set up an August innings victory on the way to the Division Two title.
Having been asked to bowl first, Tom Bailey and Danny Lamb claimed four wickets apiece as Glamorgan were bowled out inside 61 overs. Lancashire closed the first day on 85-1.
A remarkable second day then saw the Red Rose advance to 544-9, scoring 459 runs in 100 overs of play. Vilas came to the crease at 137-4, and his 240-ball innings included 35 fours and three sixes.
He shared century partnerships for the sixth and seventh wickets with Rob Jones and Danny Lamb to break Glamorgan’s spirits.
That notion was proved on day three when the hosts were bowled out for just 138 in their second innings, with Bailey and Saqib Mahmood taking three wickets each.
What they said
Dane Vilas is backing Keaton Jennings to kick on from his match sealing 91 not out against Sussex at Hove at the weekend.
Opener Jennings also posted 60 in the first innings of the five-wicket win.
Jennings only posted one fifty in a frustrating Bob Willis Trophy campaign last summer.
But this was a reminder of the left-hander’s quality as he contributed significantly to a “fantastic team performance - a proper, proper team effort” according to his skipper.
“We all know Keaton’s class,” said Vilas.
“He’s been batting brilliantly in the nets and has been hitting the ball really well. He’s just been a little bit short of runs and unlucky at times.
“For him to get that confidence booster, it’s only going to make it better for us.
“It’s nice to see everyone is contributing with the bat and putting in some good performances at a good time.
“With him, Al Davies and Josh Bohannon playing so well, and Luke Wells coming into the side now, it’s really important to have a good start up front.”
On the challenge which will be posed by Glamorgan, Vilas added: “They’re a good side playing well at the moment.
“They have some good additions, so it’s going to be a tough challenge. But we are looking forward to it. We want to test ourselves.”