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Snow and rain halt Lancs progress

Snow and rain halt Lancs progress

Lancashire will go into the final day of this opening LV= Insurance County Championship match holding a slender 68-run advantage over Sussex who were 38-0 in their second innings before play was halted early.

Rain and flurries of snow delayed the start of this third day with play not getting under way until 1.15pm with an early lunch taken and 17 overs lost from the day’s allocation..

But further bad weather late in the afternoon meant only 42 overs could be completed.

Resuming on 339-5 and looking to build on their 38-run lead Lancashire suffered two early setbacks when Sussex debutant Sean Hunt trapped Luke Wood for 32-ending a 93-run partnership-and Danny Lamb for 1, both lbw.

But Tom Bailey batted with positive intent to help Vilas put on another 40 runs in nine overs before he was unluckily run out for 24 when George Garton parried a firm drive from Vilas and threw down the stumps at the bowler’s end.

Tom Hartley perished for 4 to another run out from Stiaan van Zyl’s successful throw from square leg but Vilas, who had continued to punish the visitors attack today, was last out for a magnificent 189 with Lancashire collecting maximum batting points from their 407 all out. Teenager Hunt was the pick of the Sussex bowling with figures of 3-47.

Facing a first innings deficit of 106 runs, Aaron Thomason and Tom Haines survived searching opening spells from Saqib Mahmood and Tom Bailey, and the Sussex pair were still there when bad light halted play at 4.30pm before play was finally abandoned for the day.

“It’s been a bit of a frustrating day,” said Graham Onions.

“But you have to acknowledge that was a fantastic century by Dane.

“We’ve given ourselves an opportunity on a really good pitch to try and win this game now,” he added.

“It would have nice to get a few more runs, but if we bowl they way we did this evening and create pressure tomorrow, I’m pretty sure we will give it a good go.

“Dane is incredibly hard to bowl at-as I’ve discovered this winter-and he just finds way to score. It’s very hard to stop him. If you don’t get him early he generally gets in.

“He’s scored a lot of double hundreds here and on good pitches you’ve got to make sure you execute your plans to him.

“The way he trains it’s no real surprise he’s scoring runs. He’s a really solid player.”

Onions, who is in his first season as bowling coach, was delighted by the efforts of opening pair Mahmood and Bailey in this match.

“I can’t fault them at all,” he said. “When they come off the field, I always ask them if there’s anything else they could have done. They said ‘no’, and that’s good enough for me.

“On pitches that aren’t doing a great deal, you’ve got to be smart and skilful, hit the pitch hard and going onto a day four pitch you’ve got to hope you get a bit of help from the pitch. That’s where your spinner comes into the picture as well and I’m backing Tommy (Hartley) with the winter he’s had that he’ll turn up tomorrow and produce the goods.”

And Coach Onions also enthused about Danny Lamb’s progress with the ball.

“The winter he’s had and the progression he’s made, he deserves all the success that I’m sure will come his way this season, so long as he keeps focus on his strengths-to be an all-rounder-but also work really hard on his bowling, and his ability to bowl maidens, build pressure and hit the seam.

“This winter it’s the best he’s been and I feel his belief is there, and I’ve no doubt in my mind that he will have a really good season. He deserves a lot of credit.  

Ken Grime

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