Gubbins' century sets up intriguing final day at Hampshire
Nick Gubbins scored twin centuries in an LV= Insurance County Championship match for the first time in his career as Hampshire set Lancashire 351 to win at the Ageas Bowl.
Left-handed batter Gubbins followed his innings rescuing 101 not out with 130 to give Hampshire a hefty lead on a pitch which had previously benefited the bowlers. He joined forces with Ben Brown, who scored a high-quality 72, to put on 144 for the fifth wicket.
The home side were eventually bowled out for 344, with Lancashire reaching nine in six wicketless overs by close.
This was a better day for batting. The skies were blue and the ball was already 36 overs old. The caveat being James Anderson and his relentless control. His first six-over spell of the day saw four maidens and Liam Dawson’s wicket. He eventually recorded three for 36.
Gubbins was largely anonymous in his slow run building, although burst into life with two eye-catching cover drives. The first punishing a rare piece of width offered by Anderson, the latter taking him to a 120-ball fifty.
Gubbins and Brown are two recent signings under-pinning Hampshire’s chase for a first title since 1974; hungry having been unwanted by previous counties but with the records of the finest county players. They grew the lead in a risk-free fashion, making the most of an unresponsive ageing ball, totting up 144 runs together in the lazy spring afternoon sun.
Gubbins’ big moment came when he pushed Hasan Ali through the covers, with his 218 delivery. For a second the emotion appeared to swell as he gently punched the air with his head bowed, tapped his bat on the floor three times before turning around and almost collapsing into a hug with Brown. Only then did he take off his helmet and raise his bat to the dressing room for the 13th ton of his first-class career.
Brown reached 72 before the second new ball pinned him plumb in front, with Felix Organ following him back shortly after when not offering a shot to George Balderson. The lead past 300 before Gubbins was finally dismissed after 231 runs and 515 deliveries in the match when Danny Lamb trapped him on the crease. Keith Barker chipped in with 40 before scything to cover, James Fuller was bowled and Muhammad Abbas holed out to long-on to complete the innings.