Simon Katich brilliantly amassed the fifth double hundred of his illustrious first-class career to help Lancashire strengthen their grip on their LV= County Championship match against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
Lancashire led by 132 on the stroke of tea, and the Division Two leaders reached close at 123-4 from 38 overs as Simon Kerrigan struck three times. They are still nine behind with James Middlebrook on 46 not out.
Peter Moores is delighted with his side’s position ahead of tomorrow’s final day, but accepts that there is still work to be done to clinch victory given that conditions are still decent for batting in.
In reply to the Division Two leaders’ first-innings total of 310, the Red Rose side were bowled out for 442 on the stroke of tea, an innings which also included excellent innings of 85 for Luke Procter and 57 for captain Glen Chapple.
But it was the veteran Australian left-hander, 37-years-old, who stole the show by posting the county’s first double ton since 2008 when Pakistani Mohammad Yousuf scored 205 against Yorkshire at Headingley.
It was also his fifth double hundred in first-class cricket, and his first since 2007 when playing in a Sheffield Shield match for New South Wales against Queensland. By that stage, he had not yet made his Test comeback, which came in 2008.
Lancashire initially lost four wickets for 17 during today’s morning session to slip from 291-4 to 308-8 as left-arm seamer David Willey, who finished with 5-108, struck three times.
But Katich, having shared 145 in 47 overs for the fifth wicket with excellent Procter, added a record-breaking 128 for the ninth with Chapple. It was a record stand for that wicket in this fixture, beating the 96 shared between Red Rose duo Ken Grieves and Malcolm Hilton in 1955.
"We're in a good position after a really good day," said Peter Moores. "Our goal was to bat two sessions at the start of the day. Willey's spell made that difficult, but Glen Chapple played brilliantly to partner an outstanding knock by Simon Katich.
"The fact that Simon got to his double hundred was brilliant, and it gave us a good healthy lead. We've done well to get four wickets.
"It was a big end to the day. Getting Cameron White was a big wicket. We bowled aggressively, the seamers. We should also give mention to Wayne White, who bowled an aggressive spell. He didn't get a wicket, but looked threatening all the way through. That helped to create atmosphere for Simon.
"We're going to have to play well because it's a good pitch. We'll go in hard and keep focused. If we keep pushing all the way, there's got to be a great chance we can bowl them out.
"Northants have had a great season, so we'll have to bowl well. Four wickets have accelerated the game, but we've still got work to do.”
Katich was dropped in the slips on 115 early in the day to post his highest first-class score since 2007, but he fell to Cameron White’s leg-spin trying to hit his second six the ball after reaching three figures off 321 balls.
After Chapple had Kyle Coetzer brilliantly caught one-handed at third slip by Karl Brown, Kerrigan bowled David Sales, Ben Duckett and White to leave the score at 108-4. The latter two fell in successive overs, the 31st and 33rd of the innings.
Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Stephen Parry is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a broken bone in his left arm having taken a blow whilst batting in the nets at Wantage Road yesterday. A worst case scenario could see him miss the rest of the season.
"It doesn't look good,” said coach Peter Moores. “Steve's broken his forearm, which is a real disappointment. He's going to have surgery on Friday, and it looks like it will be 12 weeks. We'll know more definitely after surgery, but it looks like it might end his season. It's a real disappointment for us, but that's sport. There's nothing we can do about that.
"It was in net practice, and he got struck on the forearm. He got it x-rayed yesterday, so the specialist had a look at it. They'll probably end up putting a little plate in there to make sure. It's on his bowling arm. It's not complicated, but they'll want to make sure they do it right.”
Picture of Simon Katich (c) Barry Mitchell
Article (c) Lancashire CCC