Paul Horton continued his impressive form with another hundred as Lancashire took charge of their LV= County Championship match against Leicestershire at Emirates Old Trafford during a dominant second day.
The opening batsman and stand-in captain for this match reached close on 150 not out from 260 balls in a total of 344-4 from 97 overs. It is his highest score in five years and the fifth score of 150 or more in his first-class career.
The 30-year-old, who hit 111 against Hampshire at Southport recently, has now scored successive hundreds three times in his career, two of which have come for Lancashire. The first was in 2007.
He was well supported by half-centuries for Simon Katich and Luis Reece and 46 for Andrea Agathangelou, who fell five balls before bad light stopped play with 16 overs still to be bowled. In fact, a total of 20 overs were lost to the weather.
Horton shared 137 for the first wicket with Luis Reece, 73 for the third with Katich and 107 for the fourth with Agathangelou.
“We want to score maximum batting bonus points. We have to take 20 wickets to win the game, so we can’t bat on for too long,” said Horton.
“We want to win every game of cricket. If we get two full days, then we will give ourselves every chance of getting the 20 wickets. It is a big ask, but if it doesn’t come off we will have a solid draw.”
Reece became the first Lancashire player to score seven successive fifties since Geoff Pullar in 1959. The left-hander, who made 50, has also equalled the Championship record for seven fifties in a row without scoring a hundred. The feat was last achieved by Worcestershire’s William Burns in 1906.
Unfortunately, he was the first wicket to fall when he edged Ollie Freckingham to Greg Smith at second slip.
Leicestershire’s attack bowled better today than they did yesterday, and left-arm spinner James Sykes was the pick of their bowlers with 2-61 from 27 overs. Former Durham seamer Ben Raine was also impressive for his 1-51 from 20 overs.
Katich raced out of the blocks during his 56 off 62 balls, hitting six fours in his first 17 balls at the crease.
He brought up a half-century of 54 balls, but edged Sykes to Smith at first slip. Earlier, Raine had Ashwell Prince caught at first slip by Michael Thornely. Both of those wickets fell in the afternoon session.
Agathangelou rode his luck with a number of edges to third-man - either over, through or wide of the slip cordon. But he was victim of a Sykes delivery which bounced more than he expected, leaving the score at 343-4 in the 97th over. Bad light ended play five balls later.
Horton has now scored 362 runs in six innings since returning from a twice dislocated finger on his right hand, and he added: “I wanted to score back-to-back hundreds, so I am happy I did it. It puts us in a good position.
“I felt I had good rhythm after the injury, it was just a matter of cashing in. VVS Laxman is the last player to score back-to-back centuries for Lancashire, so it is something I wanted to achieve going into this match.”
Photos: Paul Horton during his innings of 150 not out (c) Simon Pendrigh