Karl Brown narrowly missed out on another Championship century but provided the backbone of Lancashire's first innings effort at the Rose Bowl
Brown admitted that he was happier with today’s 96 on a tricky pitch during the opening day against Hampshire than he was with opening week 114 against Sussex at Liverpool.
Brown’s 174-ball knock, including 14 boundaries, helped his side recover from 65-3 during the morning session to post a competitive 328 all out from 95.4 overs.
Brown shared 100 for the fourth wicket with Steven Croft, who made 37, before Kyle Hogg and Sajid Mahmood shared an entertaining 68 from 12 overs for the eighth wicket in the evening session.
Hogg and Mahmood took 34 runs from the first three overs with the second new ball, hitting 38 and 32 respectively.
Former Red Rose all-rounder Dominic Cork, the Hampshire captain, finished with 4-78 from 24.5 overs, while David Griffiths took three wickets, Kabir Ali two and left-arm spinner Danny Briggs one.
Brown, 23 years old, said: “If you are going on the wickets we played on, I think this one was a way better knock (than Sussex).
“It was a tricky pitch and difficult to get in on. It’s done a bit all day, even with the older ball. When I did get in, I wanted to cash in. I fell four runs short, but I’d have taken 96 before I went out. I’m pretty pleased.”
While the contest remains fairly evenly, Lancashire will be the happier of the two dressing rooms considering Cork won the toss and had seen his side take three early wickets courtesy of some excessive bounce off a length.
Paul Horton gloved the sixth ball of the match to James Vince at third slip, giving Cork his first, before Stephen Moore slashed Griffiths behind to Nic Pothas and Mark Chilton fended a short-pitched snorter from Griffiths to a diving Briggs at cover.
Brown and Croft then settled things down either side of lunch, with batting becoming slightly easier after the break.
But, having spent just short of 30 overs together, Croft fell lbw trying to sweep Briggs’ first ball to leave the score at 165-4 in the 53rd.
Brown then fell caught behind off Cork in the 58th with only another 18 runs added, failing to avoid a short-pitched ball from Cork. He could only divert it behind where Pothas took a fine catch one-handed going away to his left down the leg-side.
Tom Smith then went for 17 early in the evening session, well caught by Jimmy Adams at second slip off the bowling of Cork, to leave the score at 196-6 in the 67th.
Hogg and Mahmood then combined for an entertaining hour or so, with the former even taking 18 runs off Griffiths’ bowling with the second new ball in his hand.
But both departed with consecutive deliveries, Mahmood bowled by Griffiths for 32 off 49 balls and Hogg trapped lbw by Kabir for 38 off 46. That left Lancs at 296-9 and in danger of missing out on their third batting bonus point.
Gary Keedy and Oliver Newby, however, ensured that was secured as they put on 32 for the last wicket. Keedy was trapped lbw by Cork with the fourth ball of the day’s final over.
“We feel like it’s a good score,” assessed Brown. “It’s definitely something to bowl at. If we bowl in good areas tomorrow, we can cause some problems. We ended up putting a couple of good partnerships together.”
Coach Peter Moores was made four changes from last week’s Roses match, with three of them enforced.
Glen Chapple missed out due to his leg problem, while Farveez Maharoof and James Anderson are both on international duty.
Those three were replaced by Hogg, Newby and Mahmood, while fit again Tom Smith is playing in place of Luke Procter.
Photo (c) Chris Ison/PA Wire.
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