Lancashire's 40-over friendly against Kent at Beckenham today was abandoned due to rain after 31.5 overs of the home side's innings.
Half-centuries for Joe Denly and Martin van Jaarsveld had helped the Spitfires reach a solid 165-3 during a day resembling late January rather than late March. Tom Smith, Stephen Parry and Simon Kerrigan were the wicket-takers for the Lightning.
A Kent side including triallists in Neil Saker and Callum McLeod, formerly of Surrey and Warwickshire, set about their innings with early aggression, Geraint Jones reverse sweeping Kerrigan to the boundary and Denly lifting the same bowler over the long-off boundary for a maximum.
The pair had reached 55-0 in the 13th over when the ex-England wicketkeeper chipped Smith down Karl Brown’s throat at long-on.
Parry, on his return to action after a double hernia operation, was victim of a Denly maximum too - also over long-off - but he gained revenge by trapping the man who scored a ton in the two-day friendly earlier in the week lbw to leave the score at 91-2 in the 19th. Denly fell three short of a half-century.
Van Jaarsveld kept the scoreboard ticking effortlessly, reaching his fifty off 47 balls. Shortly afterwards, however, he lost partner Alex Blake, trapped lbw by Kerrigan. That left the score at 145-3 in the 28th.
Kerrigan’s 1-27 from eight was the pick of the Lightning attack, although stand-in captain Steven Croft bowled five overs of quick off-spinners at a cost of 33 runs.
It is something the 26 year-old has been working on over the winter, and he can now bowl medium pace seam up, conventional off-spinners and a mixture between the two.
Croft has skippered the side throughout the three days in the absence of rested Glen Chapple, who should play against Oxford University at the Parks on Saturday.
Croft said: “It’s been good to get outdoors and dust a few cobwebs off. Every session that we’re out there, it’s getting better. During the two-dayer here, all the batsmen looked comfortable and the bowlers got there in the end. By the time we go to Oxford at the weekend, we should be hitting our straps.”
Coach Peter Moores added: “It’s been a good three days. We looked like we hadn’t been in the middle over the first two days, but it got a lot better in the bit we saw today. There has been a progression.”
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh