Hameed and Livingstone hit centuries as Lancs stay top after draw
Set 312 to win from a minimum of 72 overs after Lancashire declared on 266-8, Warwickshire had made 195-2 by the time the teams shook hands with six overs left.
After three days of fairly dramatic cricket, despite the first morning lost to rain, it was a fairly low-key finish although the game will be remembered fondly for the emergence of leg spinner Matt Parkinson plus the aforementioned centuries by two young Lancashire batsmen.
At the start of the day Livingstone, 39 not out overnight, soon reached fifty-for the fifth time in 10 first-class innings-as Lancashire, 170-5 and leading Warwickshire by 215 runs, set off in search of quick runs.
Both Haseeb Hameed and Livingstone played with increasing freedom during the early part of the morning, plundering three boundaries from one over by Jeetan Patel, as the lead passed the 250-mark.
Livingstone-a 22 year-old playing in just his 8th first-class game lest we forget- moved on swiftly after reaching his fifty including five fours, adding seven more boundaries to his tally with some clean striking of the ball.
Hameed reached his maiden first-class century just after the hour mark from 291 balls including seven fours before falling lbw to Rikki Clarke for 103 having added 137 runs with Livingstone for the sixth wicket.
It was a hugely impressive innings from the 19 years-old batsman, who had held the innings together with some aplomb, seemingly unfazed by the clatter of wickets at the other end yesterday or the pressure of having to score quickly today.
In fact Hameed was the first of three wickets to fall in 4 balls as Clarke produced a triple-wicket maiden over, aided by Arron Lilley and Neil Wagner swinging the bat as all the Lancashire batsmen hit out. Quirkily, Clarke was the fifth bowler to be on a hat-trick in this match which must be some sort of record.
Livingstone continued his fine contribution with a six off Clarke into the pavilion and then reached his century from 115 balls when straight driving the following delivery for four, with his second fifty runs arriving from just 35 balls.
The declaration followed swiftly with Lancashire on 266-8 having added 96 runs in 22 overs during the session, with Livingstone 106 not out.
Warwickshire started their 2nd innings well with Varun Chopra and Andy Umeed compiling their second fifty partnership of the match.
It was Kyle Jarvis who made the breakthrough when Umeed on 17 edged an attempted steer to Steven Croft with the score 52-1.
It was just reward for Jarvis who bowled beautifully from the Pavilion End while fellow paceman Neil Wagner could count himself unfortunate not to have put his name in the wickets column after beating the bat on several occasions.
Leg spinner Matt Parkinson, introduced into the attack as early as the fifth over, struck next after causing no end of difficulties for the visiting batsmen, when his top spinner trapped Chopra lbw for 47 with the score on 84-2.
Facing tricky conditions and some good spin bowling from Parkinson and Arron Lilley, Warwickshire opted to defend from theron with just one boundary struck in the 28 overs before tea.
Parkinson found good spin and drift to come close to further success on many occasions, while Lilley likewise troubled both batsmen without any luck.
Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott mounted a dogged defence for the visitors, reaching their 50 partnership from 155 balls, and they settled in as conditions eased over the final session.
There was time for Bell to go to his fifty from 164 balls with 6 fours while Trott likewise reached his half-century from 124 balls with 6 fours just before the close, their partnership of 111 runs taking up just under 42 overs as Warwickshire finished on 195-2.
The draw resulted in Lancashire gaining 11 points, to stay joint top of the Division One table with Yorkshire who also drew, while Warwickshire gained 10 points.
“I thought it was a really good game of cricket and a good test for us against a very good Warwickshire team,” said Ashley Giles.
“We hoped to push for a win as you always do, but after four days of hard cricket I hope we’ve shown in this match that we are not here to be pushed around by some of the big teams.
“We’ve played a good brand of cricket and probably most importantly some of our youngsters have come forward and made big performances.
“For Matt Parkinson to bowl like that that on debut, for Hass (Hameed) to score his first first-class hundred and Livvy (Liam Livingstone) to get a run a ball hundred, aged 19, 19 and 22 respectively, that’s a pretty good performance.”
After Lancashire’s previous Championship game, the Roses defeat to Yorkshire, this was a tough game against a strong Warwickshire side and Giles drew a lot of encouragement from the performance.
“It will give us a lot of confidence as a team,” he explained, “because it shows again that coming up against another good side that we are capable and we are still top of the league.
“It’s a good position to be in after seven matches although we know there is still a lot of cricket to be played.
“One thing we said at the beginning of this game, particularly with our inconsistent white ball performances just gone, was to remember what we’ve done really well in red ball cricket and that’s just do the little things really well. Be really disciplined, with individuals taking responsibility and put in big performances and we did that again here.
“We were put under pressure at times. Yesterday there was a nerve-wracking period when we were 104 for 5 and it could have gone either way.
“And we had two guys out there, one 19 years (Hameed) and one 22 (Livingstone), who soaked up that pressure and that will stand them in good stead.
Talking about his young players’ performances, Giles added:
“(Haseeb Hameed) is going to be a star, I’m sure. He works incredibly hard. It’s a great story, a local lad coming through and getting his first hundred at Old Trafford.
“So we are all delighted for him. He will have a very bright future.
“Just looking across that squad, whatever happens we want to win all our games, but we are blooding some very good youngsters.
“Alex Davies isn’t in this team at the moment (due to injury), Saqib Mahmood is making great strides in the second team and some of the first team games he’s played, so you’ve got a core of players who could be around for a decade if not a lot more.
“That’s a really good spot to be in for this club.
“(Liam) continues to surprise us really. Some of his strokeplay is just different. I keep saying that to people. It’s the modern player; he hits the ball very cleanly, has very quick hands and has shown that he can adapt across all formats.
“I’ve taken some comments and criticism from some quarters about him batting at number seven, but it’s worked well so far. We all know that at some point he’s going to have to move up the order. When we do that, we don’t know exactly.
“There is no urgency to change that for no good reason. We will have to look at Sunday (against Middlesex) but there’s every chance that Crofty will keep wicket again.
“So that sort of balance gives us real depth in our batting department, and allows us to have someone like Livvy who has shown a lot of maturity batting with the tail. He did that from his first hundred at Somerset, when I think other young players might have just had a slog. He showed a lot of composure, a lot of maturity and he can learn a lot from batting down there with those guys as well.
Giles was thrilled with Matt Parkinson’s five-wicket debut performance, saying: “For the amount of overs he bowled on debut, for a 19 year-old leg spinner it was pretty special.
“The most impressive thing in the first innings was his composure. He spins the ball, has good variations, and today he bowled at two of the best batsmen in the country. And after losing those two wickets at no point did Warwickshire look like they were going to go for it. So it’s a lot of respect to a 19 year-old leg spinner.
I’m delighted for him, it’s gives us a certain amount of selection dilemmas, but they are pretty healthy ones and good ones.
“Again, he’s got a very bright future. He’s got a good attitude, is extremely competitive and I hope he’s going to be playing here for a long time.
Photos of Haseeb Hameed and Liam Livingstone by Clint Hughes