Three wickets in ten stunning overs has given Lancashire plenty of hope as they look to secure what would be an incredible win against LV= County Championship leaders Durham at Liverpool.
Kyle Hogg struck twice and Sajid Mahmood once to leave the North East county at 27-3 as they chase 181 for victory and a 23-point lead at the top of the table.
Day two was not as dramatic as day one, when 20 wickets fell, but it was still an enthralling day at a sun-kissed Aigburth ground.
Batting conditions eased, as expected, and that enabled Lancashire to claw their way back into the match with a much improved display in their second innings, which amounted to 282 all out following 84 in the first innings.
Paul Horton and Luke Procter both recorded half-centuries, with Horton’s 64 off 100 balls being the top score of the innings.
But had Procter not weighed in with 52 off 105 balls, comprising off a couple of delicious straight drives and the odd sweep, flick and deflection, Lancashire would be doomed already.
As it is, Durham are the ones on the ropes because Hogg trapped Michael Di Venuto and Gordon Muchall lbw before Mahmood had night-watchman Graham Onions brilliantly caught at third slip by Steven Croft to reduce the score to 24-3.
They need a further 154 runs to win with Paul Collingwood and opener Will Smith at the crease.
Hogg said: “We have to put them under as much pressure as we can. After getting bowled out for 84, many people would have expected the game to be over. But it just goes to show if you bowl well you can create pressure.
“Every one of those batsmen knows that they are only one bad shot away from the next man coming in.
“They know now they are going to have to play very well. If they do win, they will have worked very hard to do it. Pressure does weird things to people, makes them play shots they shouldn’t.”
Earlier, Onions and Steve Harmison shared six wickets to keep Durham in the driving seat. Onions took 4-74 from 15.2 overs and Harmison 2-39 from 15.
Harmison was excellent during a seven-over spell in the afternoon, trapping Mark Chilton lbw and getting Croft caught at gully.
They were two of four wickets to fall during an afternoon session in which Lancashire slipped from 112-1 to 179-5.
The hosts also lost two wickets shortly after tea, those of Gareth Cross and Sajid Mahmood bowled off inside edges by Onions, to leave the score at 220-7.
But that was when Procter came into his own, reaching his second Championship half-century off 103 balls.
Junaid Khan also hit a straight six off leg-spinner Scott Borthwick, and gained another six runs courtesy of a two that went for four overthrows, as the Pakistani totted up 16 crucial runs.
But Procter was bowled off another inside edge by Callum Thorp and Onions wrapped up the innings by bowling Junaid.
Then came the fireworks as Durham began their chase.
Hogg added: “I would back us to win this. It’s a funny game. We might be talking about this in September, wondering how we won it, but we have to believe we can win. You never know in sport.
“A few years ago we probably wouldn’t have scored as many as we did in the second innings.
“But Mooresy has instilled belief in everyone. When a new person comes on to bowl, they know the plan, they know what they are trying to do. When people enjoy it and know what they are doing, the results come your way.”
Day 1 Report
Photos (c) Simon Pendrigh
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