Ashwell Prince underpinned Lancashire's solid day with his fifth score of 50 or more this season when play finally got underway in the Roses fixture at Headingley on Sunday.
The South African left-hander heads to the Caribbean after this LV= County Championship fixture for a four Test series, and he will be replaced by Australian Simon Katich and then West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Rain wiped out Saturday’s opening day in Leeds, but Prince took advantage of Glen Chapple’s correct call at the toss to notch a determined 78 off 136 balls today. He was helped out by Stephen Moore’s 43 off 107 balls, Mark Chilton’s 42 off 90 and Tom Smith’s unbeaten 46 off 84 as the visitors closed on 272-5 from 96 overs.
And he still believes there is enough time for Lancs to force a result: “Absolutely,” he said. “The spinner played a big part here today, so hopefully the ball will turn a bit more on day three and day four.
“The ball also kept low. Hopefully that trend will continue because it should be in our favour.”
Peter Moores, who replaced Daren Powell with Smith in the team that drew against Essex last week, also reinstated Paul Horton to the top of the order to partner Moore.
Horton and Moore shared 53 in 16 overs for the first wicket, equalling the county’s best opening four-day partnership of the summer. But Horton was the first to go when he was caught at third slip by Adil Rashid off the bowling of 6ft 8inch pace bowler Oliver Hannon-Dalby for 24.
Moore and Prince then shared 51 for the second wicket before the former had his furniture re-arranged by England bowler Ajmal Shahzad. Moore was done for pace with a ball that kept low in the 34th over, the third of the afternoon session.
Shahzad and team-mate Steve Patterson tied Lancashire’s batsmen down in the first half of the afternoon session, with Patterson bowling five maidens in his first ten overs.
Prince and Chilton added 81 in 27 overs for the third wicket, but Chilton departed three overs before tea when a Rashid (2-67 from 25) ball caught the edge and was pouched one handed by Jacques Rudolph at slip to leave the score at 185-3 in the 61st over.
Rashid’s ball, which turned and bounced off a good length, was the first sign of any help for leg-spinner – and it was the first of three Red Rose wickets to fall for 40 runs either side of the tea break.
Prince chipped Patterson to short cover, the ball just holding up in the pitch before the South African played his shot, before Steven Croft fell in a manner which he will be keen to forget pretty quickly.
Croft top edged a waist high full toss from Rashid to Andrew Gale at mid-off to leave the score at 225-5 in the 75th over.
“It was a bit disappointing because it was another 50 and I’ve not got through to a hundred,” said Prince of his own dismissal. And, as for the team, he added: “Had we kept a few more wickets in hand we could have been a bit more aggressive in the afternoon.”
Smith and Luke Sutton (16 not out) then shared an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 47 to see Lancashire through to stumps.
Graham Hardcastle at Headingley
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd