Kyle Hogg reached one century but missed out on another as Lancashire battled their way back in to the Roses match
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A career-best 88 by Hogg spearheaded a Lancashire fightback on the third day against Yorkshire at Old Trafford. The all-rounder, who celebrates his 27th birthday on Friday, shared a ninth-wicket partnership of 121 with Luke Sutton to ensure that Glen Chapple's top order batsmen would not have to follow on and face Yorkshire spinners Azeem Rafiq and Adil Rashid for a second successive afternoon.
After Tom Smith (16) and Glen Chapple (21) had perished in adding only 48 runs to their side's overnight total of 187 for six, Sutton and Smith showed excellent judgement in resisting a Yorkshire attack who were scenting their first success against the old enemy since 2002. A cover drive off Rudolph took Hogg past his previous best first-class score (71 for Otago v Central Districts in the 2006-7 season) and a maiden century was beckoning when his forcing back foot drive off a short ball from Adil Rashid only found the safe hands of Richard Pyrah at short extra-cover. Daren Powell was dismissed for two by the same bowler four balls later to leave Yorkshire with a first innings lead of 89.
This was a useful advantage, but not of the patently match-winning type that Jacques Rudolph's men had hoped for before Hogg and Sutton came together for a partnership which established a new ninth-wicket record against Yorkshire at Old Trafford, beating the 106 added by Dick Pollard and Albert Nutter in 1939. The magnificently resolute Sutton was left 47 not out when the innings ended while, for Yorkshire, Rashid finished with five for 90. "Hoggy and Sutton played unbelievably well," said Rudolph. "I don't think there was much more that we could have done. You have to hold your hands up when people play well against you."
But Hogg's memorable day was not yet over. In Yorkshire's second innings he had Adam Lyth caught at deep square leg by Simon Kerrigan for 29 and, by doing so, claimed his 100th first-class wicket for Lancashire. That success was sandwiched between the dismissals of Jacques Rudolph (4), who was caught at the wicket by Sutton when essaying a drive at Powell, and Jonathan Bairstow, who was tempted into a wild hoick at Kerrigan but only succeeded in skying the ball to Smith at point.
Lyth's dismissal meant that he finished the Roses Match still 18 short of his thousand runs for the season. By the close Yorkshire had reached 111 for three, a lead of exactly 200, which leaves the game interestingly poised, with both teams in with a chance of victory. The weather forecast for Thursday, however, is not particularly good and Anthony McGrath may have limited opportunity to add to his 50 not out.
Kyle Hogg, though, having batted for 145 minutes and bowled seven overs in Yorkshire's second innings, seemed certain to enjoy the sleep of the just on Wednesday evening whatever the prospects for the morrow.
"This morning was very important for us," he acknowledged. "The main focus was to avoid the follow on amd make Yorkshire bat again but on a personal level it was good to spend some time at the crease and make a contribution to the team."
"Luke and I have been in a few century partnerships and I think we complement each other quite well. He's very dogged and I think that sometimes frees me up at the other end. He's very calm, he keeps taking to me and he stops me slogging - sometimes! The situation brought the best out of us.
"We've got ourselves back in the game now," Hogg added, as he looked forwards to Thursday's cricket. If we'd followed on, we could have been batting for survival whereas now you never know. With there being 16 points awarded for a win, it can sometimes be worth losing in order to go for a victory."
But Hogg acknowledged that it was a disappointment not to record his maiden first class century.
"I think that's my tenth fifty now," he remembered correctly. "That was still my best innings under the pressure. It was just a shame because that was the ball I was waiting for. I was so annoyed because I could have hit that anywhere and I whacked it straight to him."
As to being awarded his county cap, Hogg was in thoughtful mood. "I've just got to keep doing well," he said. "A cap is what a lot of people at Lancashire play for and it would be a massive honour."
Day 1 Report I Day 2 Report
Paul Edwards at Old Trafford
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd