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Salt and Bailey fifties keep Lancs in the fight at Hampshire

Salt and Bailey fifties keep Lancs in the fight at Hampshire

Phil Salt and Tom Bailey hit fighting fifties and Keith Barker claimed a five-for as Hampshire and Lancashire continued their close-fought encounter.

Left-arm fast bowler Barker is the equal leading wicket-taker in Division One so far this season with 20 scalps, with his five-for 67 adding to his impressive start to the campaign.

The Lancashire-born Barker helped Hampshire secure a nominal six-run first-innings advantage, with Salt and Bailey’s half-centuries keeping the visitors well in the match.

Nick Gubbins lead Hampshire’s evening lead builder, while James Anderson added two more wickets to his career tally – with Hampshire closing on 103 for three, the lead growing to 109.

The county champions tend to be the teams who take 20 wickets the easiest each match, and therefore have the best bowling attack. This is the main reason Hampshire and Lancashire are considered to be this year’s main challengers.

James Anderson, Hassan Ali and Tom Bailey vs Kyle Abbott, Muhammad Abbas and Keith Barker, or in terms of first class wickets 1,547 vs 1,515, back that up. Against other attacks the par on this pitch might be close to 350, rather than 250, such has been the relentlessness of accurate and skilful fast bowling.

The helpful morning conditions which had reduced Hampshire to 40 for five on the first morning returned to see Lancashire lose six wickets in little over an hour on day two. Nightwatchman Danny Lamb pushed forward to third slip, Josh Bohannon and Dane Vilas were undone by some extra bounce by Barker and George Balderson nicked behind having been done on the angle by Kyle Abbott.

Steven Croft attempted to cut with a flourish but instead nailed into the slip cordon and Rob Jones jerked behind – Lancashire 105 for seven, with all seven being caught behind the wicket. Hampshire’s lead would have been closer to three figures had Weatherley held onto misjudgements from Bailey and Salt when there were in single figures.

The duo put on 94 with risk-free cricket to as the ball started to age. Bailey dominated the offside with boundaries, while Salt milked either side of the wicket with intelligent running – half-centuries coming in 70 and 68 balls respectively.

The stand ended when Bailey strode forward to edge to third slip, but Hassan joined the tail-end fun to take the scores to almost parity with a smart 19 – with Barker eventually ending things by bowling Salt and having Hasan picking out long-on.

First time around, Anderson was forced to wait until his 18th delivery before taking Ian Holland’s outside edge. He needed half the deliveries to persuade Joe Weatherley to prod a wobble ball to Rob Jones’ safe hands at third slip. Holland followed soon after lbw to Hassan.

James Vince and Gubbins batted their way out of another sticky situation with their glorious shot-making, putting on 58 carefree runs before the former was adjudged leg before to Anderson – a decision that left Vince seething.

Gubbins, who survived a tight lbw appeal, was joined by Liam Dawson and the pair put on an unbeaten 33 under the floodlights before play finished five over short due to bad light.

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