Vince scores gritty 50 as the rain delays probable Lancashire victory

Vince scores gritty 50 as the rain delays probable Lancashire victory

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Lancashire on their way to promotion under Giles last term. Pic: Luke Adams

Stumps, Day Three: Hampshire 109 & 76-2 (Vince 39*) trail Lancashire 456 (Procter 137; Best 5-90) by 271 runs, at Emirates Old Trafford

The morning session on the third day of Lancashire v Hampshire was a fascinating one. Terrific bowling from the home side was matched by a mightily impressive show of resolve and fortitude by Will Smith and James Vince, the latter doing his chances of an England call-up no harm whatsoever. And it’s a good job it was so interesting, as the rest of the day was a complete washout.

Lancashire began day three chasing nine wickets to win the match and Hampshire facing a deficit of 325 runs. One of those wickets was taken early doors before the hosts’ charge was halted by Vince & Smith and ultimately stopped entirely by the weather.

It does mean however that day four is perfectly set up, with Hampshire merely needing to survive the onslaught from the Lancashire bowlers, who are in desperate pursuit of those eight wickets.

Hampshire resumed day three firmly under the cosh. The wicket of Jimmy Adams in the first over at the end of day two left Michael Carberry and James Vince striding out for the morning session, with the daunting task of chasing down a deficit of 325 runs after Lancashire’s first innings knock of 456.

When Carberry became James Anderson’s second victim with just the 11th ball of the morning, Hampshire were 23-2 and thoughts turned to the potential of the visitors falling like skittles and the prospect of an early finish on just the third day of the match.

But Hampshire showed their mettle. Under gloomy skies which aided the bowlers, with rain looming and in a seemingly impossible situation in the match, it would have been easy for them to fold.

In a compelling morning session, just 54 runs were scored as Vince put on a gritty 50 stand with Will Smith. Lancashire bowled superbly. Anderson and Jarvis were probing first up, before handing over to Neil Wagner from the pavilion end who bowled a hostile spell, rattling Smith on the helmet and peppering Vince with similarly destructive deliveries.

It took Smith 43 balls just to get off the mark but the pair battled gamely and guided their team to 76-2 at lunch. Having being run out for a duck in front of England Coach Trevor Bayliss in the first innings, it was a timely reminder from Vince of his potential Test match fortitude.

Towards the end of lunch, the rain arrived and never left. A complete washout of the afternoon session meant that tea was never even mentioned, it merely passed by without consideration.

There was hope of a few overs at the end of the day when the umpires wandered out at 5.20pm, but the rain resumed again to bring a sad end to a day that promised so much.

Hampshire will return tomorrow looking to bat out the day and save the match, while Lancashire will be chasing those eight wickets needed to claim a second victory of the season.

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