Lancashire will have to fight hard with the bat to prevent a third consecutive LV County Championship defeat of the season.
The Red Rose were restricted to 22-1 in their unlikely pursuit of 393 for victory against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
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Paul Horton was run out by Mark Wagh from square leg after being sent back by opening partner Karl Brown off just the third ball of their second innings. Brown and Kyle Hogg played out the remaining 5.3 overs without any more alarms.
Everything that batsman Wagh touched seemed to turn to gold after a fine 131 off 177 balls had set up the hosts either side of the tea break. He shared a damaging fourth wicket stand of 141 in 24 overs with David Hussey.
Hussey, a first innings centurion, added 74 off 78 balls, including ten fours and one six. Wagh hit eleven boundaries and three maximums.
Despite the fact that his side are firmly on the back foot, there is still plenty of positivity from left-arm spinner Gary Keedy, who sees no reason why the visitors cannot pull off a surprise victory tomorrow.
“They have set us about 400. It is a good pitch, and we have got to believe, with positive batting, that there is no reason why we can’t still win the game,” said Keedy. “We have got to get in tomorrow, get a partnership going, get some runs on the board, and go from there. We have struggled to pick up batting points this season, but we are not in the first innings anymore. We are out there trying to win a game. We have got an opportunity to do just that.”
The visitors were bowled out for 285 in their first innings this morning, with Glen Chapple hitting 55 and Mark Ealham taking 5-31 from his 18 overs.
Faced with a first innings deficit of 103, the Red Rose did fight back well with the ball to reduce Notts to 79-3 thanks to a wicket each for Oliver Newby, Gary Keedy (2-98 from 27 overs) and Hogg.
But Wagh and Hussey cut loose in their attempts to take the game away from Lancashire. They added 56 in eight overs after the tea break, with Wagh reaching his hundred off 131 balls, including eight fours and three sixes, with a pulled maximum off Keedy. Hussey reached his half-century in the next over off 68 balls.
Four wickets subsequent shared between Chapple, Hogg and Keedy at least slowed the scoring rate somewhat, and minimised the amount of time their side had to bat before close tonight. Wagh was well caught by a diving Mark Chilton at mid-on off the bowling of Hogg.
After the mishap between Brown and Horton, costing the latter his wicket for a duck, Brown and night-watchman Hogg survived without any further alarms.
“Every batsman who gets in there will know that if he gets in, he can score runs,” continued Keedy. “The Twenty20 game here proved that. Laxman and Crofty played exceptionally in that game.
“We need a good partnership tomorrow, 100 or 150, and we are right in the game. The way the game is set up, we won’t be thinking about defeat and batting in our shell. We are going out there to be positive from ball one.
“It’s the kind of wicket where, with wickets in hand, you can chase down seven or eight runs an over.”
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Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd