Pace bowler Sajid Mahmood swapped ball for bat to record his highest score for Lancashire since 2005 to put the Red Rose on top in their LV= County Championship match against Warwickshire at Old Trafford today.
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The 28 year-old left the visiting attack in tatters as he creamed nine fours and a six in a 41-ball innings of 52 whilst sharing a crucial tenth wicket partnership of 77 inside 12 overs with captain Glen Chapple, who also added a much needed 50 – his second of the contest.
Photo top: Glen Chapple congratulates Sajid Mahmood on reaching his half century
Having boosted Lancashire's second innings total to 319, setting the Bears the same total for victory in four sessions, Mahmood then trapped Ian Bell lbw as the visitors stumbled to 34-3 in their chase.
Warwickshire closed day three on 52-3 from 29 overs, needing a further 267 for victory, but a confident Mahmood said: “I think we’re in a pretty good position. They’re three down with three of their crucial batters out.
“The wicket’s starting to go up and down a bit now. Hopefully we can hit our areas tomorrow and get a few more wickets for the win.”
Lancashire will pick up 21 points if they can prize out seven more wickets during tomorrow’s final day, but that looked a long way off when they slumped to 113-6 in their second innings this morning.
Wickets have fallen at an alarming rate within the first hour on each of the first three days, and Neil Carter did the damage for Warwickshire as he removed Stephen Moore, Ashwell Prince and night-watchman Jimmy Anderson.
Carter, who finished with an impressive 5-79 from 26 overs, trapped Moore lbw, had Prince caught in the slips by Bell and re-arranged Anderson’s stumps. Chris Woakes also had Mark Chilton caught behind by Tim Ambrose.
Steven Croft, who also added his second fifty of the match, top scored with 56 off 94 balls to help Lancashire recover to 192-6 thanks to a seventh wicket partnership with Luke Sutton (33).
All-rounder Croft fell when he tried to uppercut Carter over third-man, but only found Trott on the boundary, and Sutton edged Naqaash Tahir to the same fielder in the slips.
When Simon Kerrigan was trapped lbw by Imran the game was well and truly in the balance at 242-9 in the 80th. After all, Warwickshire had gained a first innings lead of only one run. But the Bears were shattered by Mahmood’s 38 ball half-century, including a straight six off Imran, and Chapple’s unbeaten effort of 53 off 79 balls.
Mahmood, who also added nine fours, went through a purple patch of hitting seven boundaries in ten balls. He said: “I felt alright, and I surprised myself sometimes.
“I’ve been struggling of late with my batting, so once I got off the mark in the first couple of balls I tried to be positive. Chappie said ‘play your own game’. I knew we had to get runs, so whenever the ball was there I played it as it came.”
Chapple thumped four boundaries and a maximum, but Mahmood was the last man out when caught at short-leg by Varun Chopra off Imran.
Former Essex man Chopra was soon in the action again as the first man out in Warwickshire’s second innings when he was trapped lbw by Chapple in the sixth over for six.
And Lancashire knew they were on top when man of the moment Mahmood and Tom Smith got key duo Bell and Jonathan Trott before the 22nd over was up. Trott was also trapped in front.
To play any part in this match Ian Westwood (24 not out) and Jim Troughton have to get through tomorrow’s first hour. It will be a tough ask as the first hours play on all three days so far have been wicket-infested.
Day 1 report I Day 2 report
Graham Hardcastle at Old Trafford
Photos: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd