Bohannon century boosts Lancs victory bid
A fine unbeaten 142 by Josh Bohannon helped Lancashire gain a significant advantage after two days of this LV= Insurance County Championship encounter with Gloucestershire.
Bohannon signalled early intent by putting two of his first four deliveries away for four, the first of twenty struck during the day, and he went on to build century partnerships with both Luke Wells and Steven Croft across the second day to leave Lancashire well positioned at 289-3 and ahead by 37 runs at the halfway stage of this match.
It was the impressive Bohannon’s fourth first-class hundred and all have been scored at Emirates Old Trafford.
The first task at eleven o’clock as Lancashire resumed on 11-1 was to see the new ball off and build a partnership and both Wells and Bohannon achieved that with some aplomb, defending when they had to, but scoring briskly by putting away anything wayward from the Gloucestershire bowlers.
The pair dominated the session, with Wells reaching his fifty off 110 balls while Bohannon reached the landmark of 2,000 first-class runs (at the impressive average of 44.44) just before the break. And for the second day running, no wickets fell in the morning session.
Bohannon reached his half-century off 106 balls and posted the 100 partnership off 203 balls when the Boltonian cut Ryan Higgins through gully for four immediately after the break. But he soon lost his partner when Wells was lbw for 59 to a big turning delivery from Zafar Gohar.
But unlike the first day that was the only wicket to fall before tea as Croft, a century-maker last week, gave Bohannon great support to help push Lancashire up towards the visitors’ first innings total.
Gloucestershire tightened things up after the break, Higgins in fact bowling a great afternoon spell that saw the pace bowler have figures of 0-12 off 14 overs at one point, and in tandem with left-arm spinner Zafar the pair dried up the run scoring. But they could not dislodge either batter with Bohannon moving steadily towards three figures.
That moment arrived in the over after tea when Bohannon glanced Ajeet Dale to fine leg for his 15th four (from 213 balls) and take Lancashire to a first batting point.
The pair’s century partnership followed (from 192 balls) as Bohannon also completed 2,000 first-class runs for Lancashire when reaching 119 but the persevering Zafar (2-65 from 35 overs) finally had some reward when the left arm spinner bowled Croft, sweeping, for 34 to end a productive partnership that had doubled the Red Rose score to 234-3.
But there was little respite for the Gloucs’ bowlers as Dane Vilas arrived to add a typically attacking flourish of 39 off 44 balls during the final hour, the pair reaching their fifty partnership off 79 balls just before the close, and the batting today rather unlined how well Lancashire’s bowling attack had performed twenty four hours earlier.
“It was nice to spend some time in the middle,” said Josh Bohannon.
“We talked at the start of the season about trying every week to do a match-winning performance. Hopefully we can set this game up and get the win.
“We wanted to bat all day and hopefully I’ve done that job (setting it up).
Bohannon was naturally delighted to get such a big score in his second innings of the season.
“After all the hard work in the winter and then come out and do it today was a massive reward for myself,” he admitted.
“Having watched how Gloucs went about it (batting) yesterday, it was hard when the bowlers got it right. We knew it would be hard at times and they bowled well in periods. But it was nice to get through those tough periods, get a few runs away, and get through a really challenging day.
Looking ahead to tomorrow Bohannon added: “It’s still a nice pitch. There’s a bit of spin, there are some cracks and enough there for our bowlers to exploit.
“Hopefully we can come back tomorrow and put us in a great position to try and help our bowlers win us this game.“
And Bohannon played down questions about possible England involvement after his Lions tour during the winter.
“I’m just taking each game at a time," he said "and just trying to score as many runs as I can for Lancashire. What I took from being with the England Lions was the intensity of the environment – everything they do on and off the field was something that I really enjoyed and hopefully if I keep scoring runs for Lancashire it can be something I can be a part of moving forward.
“It is something I am not in control of at the end of the day and all I can do is put my name in the hat by scoring runs for Lancashire. If I can help Lancashire win a Championship hopefully it might lead to bigger and better things.”
Photos: George Franks & Luke Adams