Simon Katich posted his second hundred in three LV= County Championship matches for Lancashire to put them in control at the halfway stage against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road today.
The prolific Australian, aged 37, underpinned the Red Rose’s 262-4 from 80 overs in reply to 310, which included four wickets for Kyle Hogg and three for Glen Chapple - the pair have now shared 70 wickets between them this year.
Katich finished with a brilliant 114 not out off 182 balls, including 17 fours and a six, to pass 650 runs for the season in his eighth match. His other ton was the 122 in the win against Essex at Chelmsford last month.
The left-hander finished the day having shared an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 116 in 35 overs with Luke Procter, who will resume tomorrow morning on 62 off 127 balls. Lancashire are now just 48 behind.
If they can get over the second new ball, which is available immediately, without much damage they will find themselves in a match-winning position.
“We’ve still got a fair bit of work to do,” said Katich. “They’re on top (of the league) for a reason, and I’m sure they’ll come out hard tomorrow. Hopefully we can win the first half hour and go from there.
“We knew it was a big last session of the day. The game’s seesawed at times, and they got back on top with a couple of quick wickets. But a couple of partnerships have put them under a bit of pressure. There's still a lot of work to do.
“I came over here to make sure that I did a good job for the boys and the team, and we’re winning games of cricket, which is the main thing. It’s nice to be able to contribute to that. At my age, I just really enjoy the contest and wanting to get out there and show people what I can do.”
Hogg, who finished with 4-65, took all three wickets this morning to wrap up the Northants first innings having started on 275-7, including Cameron White strangled down the leg-side for a well made 90.
He also bowled Lee Daggett to leave the score at 305-9 with two balls left of the 110th over, meaning Lancashire claimed a third bowling point just in the nick of time.
Lancashire then slipped to 26-2 following the early loss of Luis Reece and Karl Brown, caught behind and bowled off Azharullah respectively.
Katich played shots all around the wicket in his innings, including a pulled six off Azharullah, an excellent back foot punched drive off David Willey to reach his fifty and a cut off Daggett to bring up his hundred off 156 balls.
He shared partnerships of 76 inside 19 overs for the third wicket with Ashwell Prince, who made 42, and 44 inside 15 for the fourth with Andrea Agathangelou before uniting with Procter before tea.
Prince also fell to Azharullah, well caught at square-leg by Kyle Coetzer after sweetly connecting with a pull shot, before Agathangelou was yorked by left-arm seamer Willey, leaving the score at 146-4 after 45 overs.
After Katich had reached the 56th hundred of his first-class career in the latter stages of the day, Procter, batting a number six, recorded his third fifty of the summer off 107 balls. He got there with a gorgeous cover drive off Daggett.
“I thought Ashwell played really well,” added Katich. “He was a bit unfortunate to get out. He certainly helped with that partnership, and Luke Procter played beautifully in a new role for him at number six.”
Picture of Simon Katich (c) Clint Hughes/PA Wire/Press Association Images