Overseas star Simon Katich is confident that Lancashire can build on their opening LV= County Championship Division Two draw against Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford to mount a promotion push.
Katich played a key role in giving the Red Rose county a slim chance of victory during today’s final two sessions of the match against the Pears, but they were eventually thwarted by rain for the third day on the trot.
Katich scored 84 in addition to Ashwell Prince’s 95. The pair shared 181 in 31.3 overs for the fourth wicket as Lancashire posted 448-7 declared in reply to Worcester’s first-innings 334 earlier in the match.
In theory, it left Lancashire a minimum of 60 overs to bowl the Pears out in their second innings before knocking any runs required. Unfortunately however, rain had the final say. Lancashire claimed nine points and Worcestershire six.
Australian left-hander Katich said: “I think at the start of the season, we set ourselves to be really ruthless in the way we play our four-day cricket. The way we did it with the ball and the bat, we did everything we could to win the game. Unfortunately we lost too much time. If we can keep playing our cricket like that, we'll put ourselves in a position to win games.
“There was a chance that if we had nipped a few out early with it being overcast and a few younger guys in their middle to lower order, we could have put them under a bit of pressure.
“From where we were at late on day two, it looked like it would be pretty difficult for us to get a result. But we put them under a bit of pressure today, even though they were only one down.”
Prince and Katich made a flying start to the day by adding another 110 runs to their fourth-wicket stand, which was ended when Prince skied Alan Richardson to Daryl Mitchell running around from mid-on in the 109th over.
By that time they had batting points three and four, and Prince was looking to complete his hundred in style having already pulled two sixes off Chris Russell and Richardson, the latter to bring up their 150 stand in 157 balls.
Prince brought up his fifty off 80 balls and Katich off 70, including a sweetly timed six over long-on off Russell. Katich also fell within sight of a hundred, caught behind by compatriot Michael Johnson off Moeen Ali’s off-spin to leave the score at 383-5 in the 115th over.
Gareth Cross was run out going for a fourth run shortly afterwards, while Steven Croft was caught at first slip by Mitchell off David Lucas in the penultimate over of the morning.
Chapple and Wayne White returned to add another 32 runs in four overs after lunch before declaring.
Chapple then took the only wicket to fall when he had Matt Pardoe caught behind by Cross to leave the score at 17-1 in the ninth over, just after he had offered a tough chance to White at second slip off Kyle Hogg. Rain arrived in the 12th over with the visitors on 26-1.
Katich, who spent at month at Old Trafford in 2010, has returned the club following a season with Hampshire last year. He added: “I certainly enjoyed my month here a couple of years ago. I was really impressed with the set-up, and the guys have welcomed me back.”
Photo of Ashwell Prince and Simon Katich (c) Simon Pendrigh