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Match Report STORY
Lancs on top at Liverpool
Lancs on top at Liverpool
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Lancashire enjoyed another profitable day, leaving them in a strong position at the halfway stage of their game against Middlesex at Liverpool

Four of the five Red Rose bowlers used struck as Middlesex slipped to 95-5 during the evening session in reply to 392, with Ajmal Shahzad getting two wickets in his first Championship home match for the county.

New ball pair Glen Chapple and Kyle Hogg picked up a wicket apiece, as did left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan, before Neil Dexter and John Simpson led the visitors' recovery with an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 60.

Middlesex will resume on 155-5 in the morning, but still trail by 237 runs.

Hogg said: "We would have liked to have made 450 on what is a very good batting pitch, but they stuck to their task well and put us under pressure. 390 is still a good effort. To then come out on what is a batting-friendly pitch and take five wickets is a great effort.

“It's difficult to take wickets. It's similar to an old Old Trafford pitch, you have to really work hard for your wickets. But that’s how cricket should be. It's starting to spin a bit now, and that brings Simon Kerrigan into the game.

“They have got international players in their top five, so it's great to make in-roads. We are just two wickets away from getting the bowlers in. It gives us a lot of confidence for the morning."

Ashwell Prince top-scored for Lancashire with 144 as they were bowled out during the afternoon session, although the Red Rose lost their last six wickets for 71 runs having reached 321-4.

A 90-run stand for the fifth wicket between Prince and Luke Procter put their side on course for a score in the region of 400-450 having started the day at 276-4. But when Prince edged Gareth Berg to a diving Ollie Rayner at first slip, having added 23 runs to his overnight score, things quickly changed.

Procter chipped Rayner's off-spin to Joe Denly at mid-wicket for 39 before Shahzad was caught at short-leg by Sam Robson off the same bowler, leaving the score at 337-7.

Gareth Cross and Chapple added 45 for the eighth wicket, but the latter fell early in the afternoon session when he top-edged Tim Murtagh to Berg at mid-on to give the bowler his third wicket.

Hogg was run out by a Corey Collymore throw from the leg-side boundary at the non-striker's end before Cross chipped Rayner to Chris Rogers at mid-wicket. Cross, who hit 75 not out against Warwickshire at Edgbaston last weekend, continued his encouraging form with 41. Rayner, meanwhile, matched Murtagh's three-wicket haul.

Hogg then gave the Red Rose the perfect start with the ball when he struck with his second ball, the eighth of the innings, by getting Rogers caught behind by a tumbling Cross.

"I have missed out in the last couple of games," he said. "There's a lot of competition for bowling places, but that is how it should be. If people are bowling well, they deserve to play. No one has a problem with that. To get Rogers early on was a big wicket for us really.”

Robson was next to go when he was trapped lbw by Chapple with a ball that nipped back and kept low - and when Denly drove Shahzad to Karl Brown at point, Middlesex were 69-3.

It was the first of two wickets for Shahzad in a quick six-over burst after tea, with England batsman Eoin Morgan bowled for eight in his first Championship appearance since July 2010. Morgan had got off the mark by sweeping his first ball off Kerrigan, his fourth in total, over the mid-wicket fence for six.

Hogg added: "Ajmal has fitted in really well. He tries his heart out, and is always willing to bowl.

“He is a great bowler and a more than useful batsman as well. It's good competition, and it lifts everyone else’s game because you know if you don’t perform to certain levels there are people waiting in the wings. We have Sajid Mahmood and Oliver Newby not playing in this game."

Kerrigan then had Dawid Malan caught at short-leg by Steven Croft as Middlesex lost their fifth, but their nerves were at least calmed as Dexter reached 33 not out and Simpson 28 not out.

Day 1 Report

Graham Hardcastle
Photos (c) Simon Pendrigh, except photo no.7 of Ashwell Prince (c) Barry Mitchell
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd