Left-arm spinners Gary Keedy and Simon Kerrigan enjoyed success during today's second day to help Lancashire gain the advantage over Hampshire at Liverpool.
Replying to the home side’s 388, in which captain Glen Chapple had top-scored with 97 off 117 balls, Hampshire openers Jimmy Adams and Liam Dawson shared 103 for the first wicket.
But the Red Rose spinners came into their own in the latter stages of the afternoon, equally sharing four wickets to fall for 40 runs as Hampshire stumbled from a position of strength into a position of peril.
Keedy then struck in the second half of the evening session, finishing with 3-58 from 24 overs on the bounce, to leave the visitors on 229-5 from 85 overs at close.
“Me and Keeds bowled well for most of the last two sessions,” said Kerrigan, who also finished with 2-85 from 31 overs.
“It’s started to spin on day two, so hopefully we can get a lead, bat well and bowl them out again. If we can a lead of anything around 80 or so, it would be good for us.”
Hampshire captain Adams survived a couple of early scares, but the left-hander continued his good form on the Aigburth ground with 54 following a marathon 194 off 508 balls last year.
The opener, who toured the Caribbean with the England Lions over the winter, was the subject of a loud lbw shout from Chapple just after lunch and Luke Procter’s medium pace narrowly missed his outside edge, but pace was nowhere near as effective as spin.
And, therefore, the decision to play two spinners, with Kerrigan coming in for only his third match of the season, looks an excellent one.
Lancashire were bitten here last month against Warwickshire when they could have done with two spinners on the final day of a match that finished in a draw. And Peter Moores and Chapple were not prepared to take that risk again.
Both Kerrigan and Keedy struck in the half hour before tea, leaving the score at 118-2 after 44 overs. Kerrigan bowled Dawson (54) with a quicker ball before Keedy bowled Michael Carberry round his legs with the last ball of the session.
And, when two more wickets fell in the space of eight balls after the break, Hampshire were 143-4 in the 52nd over.
Paul Horton took two smart catches at first slip as Kerrigan got Adams and Keedy got James Vince. The second was a super catch, held in his left hand as he dived full length.
Keedy then had Neil McKenzie caught behind by Gareth Cross, who dropped Sean Ervine (52 not out) on 47 just before close.
“I was pleased to get the wickets,” continued Kerrigan, who has had to be patient since taking 5-7 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston earlier this summer. “Adams was nicking to slip and then Dawson cutting one that didn’t spin. That’s the magic delivery.
“Shane Warne bowled one to Ian Bell once and that was called a zooter. It was just a leg-spinner that didn’t spin.”
On his alliance with Keedy, he also said: “Keeds is a great bowler to work with. This showed that we can bowl together when we get the right pitches. He’s a great person to have around.”
Earlier, Lancashire missed out on the maximum of five batting points after starting the day on 337-7. Dimitri Mascarenhas took two of the three wickets to fall, getting Chapple and Kyle Hogg.
Chapple and Hogg shared 116 for the eighth wicket, a Lancashire record for that wicket against Hampshire.
Left-arm spinner Danny Briggs got Keedy as Kerrigan finished with a career best 18 not out.
“A PB (personal best)” Kerrigan said with a huge smile on his face. “It must have been a batter friendly pitch for me to get 18. I was pleased for the announcer to announce it when I walked off too.”
Day 1 Report
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire County Cricket Club