Lancashire collapse with Surrey set for victory
Mark Footitt struck four times on the way to 5-49 amidst a damaging post tea burst to leave Lancashire staring at a Specsavers County Championship defeat against Surrey at the Oval.
Lancashire had conceded a first-innings lead of 193 in the early stages of the third afternoon, but they were in a state of reasonable health at 167-2 after tea.
Luke Procter and Alviro Petersen, who made 76 and 56, were well set in a third-wicket partnership that was advancing at a decent rate.
But Footitt got both of them, starting with South African Petersen, as the Red Rose batting order collapsed to 193-8, a loss of six wickets for just 26 runs.
They later closed on 203-8 from 63 overs, a lead of only 10 with Kyle Jarvis and Nathan Buck at the crease.
Surrey captain and off-spinner Gareth Batty, superb after tea, also struck twice as Lancashire head towards a fourth reverse of the season.
Procter and Petersen shared a third wicket partnership of 78 inside 22 overs either side of tea as the visitors enjoyed arguably their most productive period of the match so far.
Haseeb Hameed and Liam Livingstone were the first two Lancashire wickets to fall after Surrey had earlier advanced from 354-6 overnight to 480, including 5-130 for Arron Lilley.
Hameed was caught behind off Footitt during the afternoon and Livingstone caught at second slip having gloved a short ball from Stuart Meaker as the score slipped to 89-2 in the 23rd over.
Procter reached 50 off 85 balls and Petersen later off 57.
They are two of eight batsmen to reach fifty in the match, with all of them failing to convert into three figures.
That also included Surrey’s teenaged all-rounder Sam Curran, who earlier made his way from 28 not out overnight to 96 before falling as one of Lilley’s five wickets.
All four of Surrey’s day three wickets fell to the spin of either Lilley or Simon Kerrigan.
Lilley struck three times it get Tom Curran caught at deep backward square-leg by Rob Jones sweeping, Sam Curran caught and bowled off a leading edge and Footitt bowled. Kerrigan trapped Batty lbw.
Sam Curran pulled three leg-side sixes off Lilley, including off the off-spinner’s first ball of the day, but the Red Rose man got his revenge with the 18-year-old agonisingly short of a maiden first-class century.
Lancashire’s second innings started in the early stages of the afternoon.
Procter was strong on both sides of the wicket, but his fifth score of 50 or more this season was not without alarm as he was dropped in the slips on 65 by Steven Davies off Tom Curran.
The left-hander, promoted to open the batting in the absence of Tom Smith, went beyond 800 Championship runs for the season.
Petersen moved to 44 with a big straight six off Batty’s off-spin as Lancashire moved to 152-2 in the 40th over of the innings, with the deficit now just 41.
He twice drove Footitt handsomely through the covers in the 43rd over, shortly after reaching his fifty, as the score moved to 165-2.
But the former Derbyshire left-arm quick got his revenge in his next over when Petersen, looking to repeat the dose, miscued to Dominic Sibley at cover as the score slipped to 167-3.
Footitt also struck in his next over, the 47th, as Steven Croft edged to first slip without scoring as Lancashire fell to 167-4.
And his fourth wicket came in the 53rd over when Procter was trapped lbw with 178 on the board.
Enter Batty, who bowled unchanged from the Vauxhall End after tea and built pressure.
He trapped Rob Jones lbw and bowled Jordan Clark in the space of five balls in the 56th over as the score fell to 189-7.
That became 193-8 in the 59th when Footitt had Lilley caught at second slip to complete his five-for - the scores now being level.
Jarvis and Buck at least took the visitors into the lead before close, but that is of little consolation.