Lancashire CCC v Hampshire CCC County Championship June 25-28

Lancashire CCC v Hampshire CCC at Old Trafford

Neil Whitaker reports

Day 2

SOUTH  African Rilee Rossouw hit an unbeaten 120, his first championship century of the season, his first for Hampshire and marshalled the Hampshire tail to 451.

He reached his ton when he drove Graham Onions to mid wicket for a single.  His second fifty was pedestrian compared to his first  fifty on the first day when his first fifty came from  58 balls with nine fours  while his second fifty came from 97 more and included only four more fours.

Rossouw reached his highest score of the season when he danced down the wicket to Stephen  Parry and drove him through mid off to the boundary just clearing Alex Davies at mid off.

He said: “It’s a huge relief to get my first hundred for  Hampshire, it’s been a long time coming.  I thought at one that I would run out of partners. Hopefully I can take this into the final on Saturday. Yesterday when I came into bat they bowled at two lengths to me. They were either too full or too short.  Today they bowled a lot better in the right areas.  

We thought that the pitch would break up today  as it’s a three day pitch after being used for Sunday’s ODI. Hopefully tomorrow we can get stuck in and get a couple of early wickets.”

Lancashire had the perfect start to day two when Onions nipped one back at Ollie Rayner, playing his second match on loan from Middlesex, was caught on his crease and was leg before without adding to his overnight score.  The wicket gave Onions his second five wicket haul of the season in his second over of the day.    

Buoyed by this early success Lancashire then had to endure 20 overs in the midday sun on one of the hottest days of the year and watch Rossouw and Gareth Berg  add 86 before they got their second wicket.  With Berg poised to get his second fifty in a week he top edged a sweep off Parry to Danny Lamb at short fine leg who had just been moved there from the boundary.

But they couldn’t get the last two wickets cheap.  Kyle Abbott hung about for 11 overs with Rossouw adding another 43 before off spinner  Arron Lilley turned one past Abbott and took his off stump, as he walked off Abbott gave a quizzical look at the pitch.

With last man Fidel Edwards you always expect fireworks but a few missed attempts at the big shot and some crazy running and stopping  he hung about  for 12 overs helping Rossouw to get Hampshire past the 450 mark.

The innings was over when Edwards went back to Lilley to cut and top edged him to Lancashire stumper and captain Dane Vilas.

Hampshire got an early breakthrough when Berg got one to rise at Jennings who tried to leave it but it must have hit his back glove because Alsop and his slips all went up. 

Haseeb Hameed is still looking for that big score that will kick start after offered no shot to one that came nine inches back at him and Edwards knocked his off stump out of the ground.

Rob Jones was late on his shot, played down the wrong line to Abbott and lost his off stump.  Even the most ardent Lancashire fan  must have worried following the team’s recent collapses in Championship cricket  that they would make close of play without losing at least a couple of more wickets.

But Davies was joined by his skipper Vilas and the pair saw lancashire to the close without losing another wicket but still 162 from saving the follow on.  Davies reached his fifty when he squeezed Abbott to the third man boundary, two balls earlier Davies clipped him off his legs to the square leg boundary.

Day 3

LANCASHIRE skipper Dane Vilas  hit his third hundred for them and shared in two century plus stands in sweltering conditions that should ensure Lancashire should not lose this match.

When he came into bat on the second day Lancashire had lost three wickets for  70 runs and were on the verge of another batting collapse. Even today the Hampshire players would have thought that if got rid of Vilas and Alex Davies quickly and cheaply they would have rolled  the rest out for less than the follow on target of 302.  The follow on was eventually saved by a leg bye off Kyle  Abbott.

Vilas said after: “It was  a really good nice day out there and it felt like home and it was nice to spend some time with Davies who helped me along.

I am disappointed  that we fell behind them we wanted to get as close to their score as possible but happy that we got a couple of wickets.

A lot can happen in the morning but if we get. A couple of early wickets anything can happen. The pitch is hard for the bowlers but there is something still there for the bowlers.  It’s nice to play on a Test wicket and know that you have to earn your runs.”

Vilas steared  Abbott through the vacant gully area to the third man boundary to bring up not only his fifty but the hundred partnership with Davies.  Davies reached his fourth Championship ton for Lancashire when he cut a gift from Ollie Rayner in the form of  a short, wide ball to the point boundary.  His hundred came from 176 balls in 267 minutes. It was his first Championship ton of the season and ironically enough his last century  was just over a year ago against Hampshire at the Emirates Old Trafford.

The end for Davies was neigh but when he lofted Rayner over mid off for a glorious boundary, 150 looked possible for him   but in the next over he cut Ian Holland to Rilee Rossouw at gully.

Hampshire had got rid of one of the men they wanted but not the other.  Vilas made batting look easy as the Hampshire bowlers  tired in the sun.  He danced down the wicket to Rayner and drove him straight to the mid off boundary.

Vilas reached his third hundred with the last ball  of the the first over after lunch when he went down the wicket again to Rayner and launched him  over long off for a one bounce four into  the crowd.  His ton came from 169 balls and included 14 fours.

A straight drive from Vilas off Abbott was so straight it nearly took umpire Nigel Llong’s foot off as it raced to the boundary for Vila’s 19th four.

The end for Vilas was quiet affair as he simply prodded forward at Abbott and was leg before.  Three overs later Danny Lamb, playing his first Championship match at Emirates Old Trafford, became the second lbw victim of the Lancashire innings when he tried to sweep Rayner and missed the ball.

A straight drive from Jordan Clark off brought up his fifty.  He had  got off the mark with a four driven through extra cover off Holland.

Arron Lilley was dropped twice before he reached 10, first on 0 he was dropped by keeper Alsop down the legside off Abbott.  On five he top edged a sweep off Rayner as the pressed for the extra batting points  but found Jimmy Adams as he ran  back from short mid wicket.  Hampshire eventually got rid of Lilley but not until he had added 58 in 10 overs for the seventh wicket with Clark  as they inched towards a fifth batting point but when he tried to run Holland to the third man boundary he edged him to stumper Tom Alsop standing up.

After they failed to pick up their fifth batting point on the stroke of tea Stephen Parry was bowled by Gareth Berg with one that kept low.

Clark pushed Abbott out to James Vince mid on and set off for a single but couldn’t beat Vinci’s direct hit.   Two balls later Tom Bailey played around a straight one and was leg before.

Leading by 40 Hampshire lost their first wicket in the fifth over when Adams was stuck on the crease and was leg before to Graham Onions.  Vince got off the mark with a beautiful cover drive off Onions to the boundary.

Hampshire lost their second wicket when skipper Vince was strangled down the legside and Vilas took the catch.

Day 4

HAMPSHIRE’s opener Joe Weatherley batted for over six hours as he hit his maiden championship century to ensure that the match would peter out to a tame draw.

The 21 year old  made Lancashire  pay the price of not having a second slip in for him in the third over of the day when on 31 he prodded at Tom Bailey and edged it straight to where second slip should have been and ran to the third man boundary. 

Weatherley who made a duck  in the first innings said: “I was more nervous going out on a pair than I was in the nineties but I was delighted to get a hundred.  Before play started  it was looking like it was heading for a draw but we still had a job to do to put the game to bed.  I was selfish I wanted to get an hundred because it’s been long overdue, I’ve not been ruthless enough but it’s hard opening the batting in red ball cricket.

It wasn’t easy to score runs today and when they had the spinners on they still set fields which didn’t make scoring any easier.  

It was nice to spend some time in the middle before the final on Saturday. I am looking forward to playing on Saturday at Lord’s in my first final. I’ve been trying to push out to the back of my mind but now it’s here.”

He reached his century with a three from  cover drive off Danny Lamb.   It took him over five hours at the crease  from 211 balls with 10 fours.  His first fifty  came from 127 balls in 189 minutes  and included  six fours.

Hampshire started the final day 106 ahead with six second innings wickets standing and were in a strange position of whether to go for runs and build a big lead and then get Lancashire in for a second time and having to bat the time or be patient and bat time out. If they chose the former they could have been bowled out cheaply going for the runs if they went for the latter but they could be dismissed cheaply. They chose the latter and it worked for them.  In the first hour Hampshire had only added 23  to their overnight score in the second hour they increased their run rate  and 46 runs were scored.  

Without adding to his overnight score Sam  Northeast survived a strong leg before appeal from Graham Onions.  After 73 minutes and in the 12th  he was finally put out of his misery when he missed a straight one from Jordan Clark and was bowled off his pads.

Weatherley was joined by wicket keeper Tom Alsop and they added 95 in 27 overs and put the result out of the question.  Throughout his innings of 33 Alsop led a charmed life.  Before he had scored he  went down the wicket to Stephen Parry missed the ball and Vilas missed a stumping.  Left arm spinner Parry bowling from the Statham end in the morning session was unlucky not to pick up a couple of wickets as he got some turn and a couple kept low.

In the sixth over after lunch, Alsop edged a drive off Parry which went between Dane Vilas and Keaton Jennings at first slip which ran to the boundary.  His luck finally ran when he went back to Parry and the ball spun in the footmarks and was bowled the ball after he had reversed swept Parry to  third man boundary to age the Hampshire lead past 200.

Following his first innings unbeaten century Rilee  Rossouw was unfortunate to be given out leg before to Clark.  He tried to turn Clark, who was bowling round the wicket, to leg when the ball hit his pad on leg stump.

Lancashire’s Head coach Glenn Chapple said: “I thought for a five day old wicket wicket it held up better than I thought and the lads fought really well over the four days. I would have liked to have got past their score and they would have been under more pressure.  We had enough chances in our innings with Vilas, Alex Davies getting tons and Clark just missing out.  Today our opening bowlers showed a lot of enthusiasm and worked really hard for the team.

Lancashire’s 11 points takes them out of the bottom but pushes their roses rivals Yorkshire into the bottom two.

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