Lancashire need four quick wickets tomorrow as they look to remain in the hunt for a four-day win against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.
The home side have the advantage at the halfway stage of this LV= County Championship fixture, responding to the Red Rose county’s 283 with 287-6 after 85 overs when bad light halted play four overs earlier than planned.
Opening batsman Jimmy Adams top scored with 72 off 158 balls, while Sean Ervine, Michael Lumb, James Vince and Neil McKenzie all provided valuable assistance on a decent batting track.
Gary Keedy and Glen Chapple returned 2-45 from 19 overs and 2-48 from 17 respectively, while Sajid Mahmood and Steven Croft both struck with a wicket apiece.
Keedy assessed: “They're four runs on with four wickets left. But, if we bowl well in the morning, I think it's pretty even. If we can get a decent score second innings, the pitch is only getting slower.
“It's taking more turn as it goes, which can only give me and Keggsy something to bowl at. It's started turning off the straight, and they've got a load of left handers.
“We need to try and finish them off in the morning, then try and bat as long as we can to put them under pressure.”
Lancashire only added 21 more runs to their overnight score of 262-8, with Simon Kerrigan and Keedy both departing to Dominic Cork (4-57 from 24 overs).
Kerrigan fended a short ball to Adams at third slip before Keedy played on as he tried to leave alone outside the off stump. Mahmood finished on 21 not out.
Keedy said his team-mates were “disappointed” that they failed to post 300, but Chapple boosted them by bowling Michael Carberry in the first over to leave the hosts at 0-1. Carberry was also undone trying to leave the ball alone, but he did not get any bat on it as his off stump was rocked back.
Tom Smith could have had Hampshire two down at lunch, but Luke Sutton spilled a chance from the bat of Adams as he dived to his left on 18.
Adams and Lumb shared 117 for the second wicket inside 35 overs, but Mahmood forced Lumb to top edge an attempted pull down the throat of Kerrigan at long leg for 48 before Adams top edged a sweep off Keedy straight into the hands of Sutton as tea approached.
Hampshire went into tea well positioned at 179-3 from 57 overs, but Keedy struck for the second time early in the evening session when McKenzie (33) guided another sweep into the hands of Mark Chilton at leg slip.
Ervine and Vince shared 76 inside 20 overs for the fifth wicket to advance their score from 179-4 in the 59th. But that stand was broken by the off spin of Croft, with Vince (33) misjudging a pull as he was trapped lbw to leave the score at 255-5 in the 78th.
Zimbabwean left hander Ervine hit Chapple, who was now bowling with the new ball, for a couple of boundaries in the 83rd over, but then he edged to Smith at second slip for a well made 56 off 77 balls with the hosts 12 runs short of Lancashire’s total.
Cork and wicketkeeper Michael Bates navigated them to a lead before umpires Richard Illingworth and Richard Kettleborough intervened.
Keedy added: “I don't think the chances of winning will be gone at any score (they get). If they get a hundred lead though, we'd have to bat seriously well to win the game.
“Going into the third day, it's probably too early to say what a good score would be. We'll be focusing on getting four wickets as fast as we can. The ball is still new. Corky will come at us like we expect him to, but I think they've got a longer tail than us.”
Day 1 Report
Graham Hardcastle at the Rose Bowl
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd