Lancashire’s bowlers fought back on the first day of their rain-affected LV= County Championship match against Northamptonshire, who closed on 198/6 at Wantage Road.
Alex Wakely (59) and Stephen Peters (56) added 115 runs for the second-wicket partnership but Peter Siddle, Kyle Jarvis and Jordan Clark all claimed two wickets as the hosts lost five wickets for 77 runs.
Northants were asked to bat first after rain had washed-out the entire morning session, reducing the day’s play to 59 overs. It initially seemed like a good toss to win for Lancashire on a green and covered wicket and their decision to bowl first was vindicated when Siddle (2/41) encouraged Richard Levi (7) to edge to Steven Croft at second slip.
Croft juggled the first attempt but he managed to grab the ball with his left hand at the second try as Northants lost their first wicket at 15/1. Wakely was looking to make a big score after enduring an injury-hit season last year and he certainly played a captain’s innings as he went on to reach his 22nd first-class fifty.
Peters led the hosts recovery from the early loss of Levi as he took advantage of the short boundary and the erratic line and length from the Lancashire bowlers, scoring eight fours on his way to an equally eye-catching half-century. The Northants opener reached this milestone marginally quicker than Wakely when he made fifty in 68 balls.
Wakely soon followed with his ninth boundary bringing him a 92-ball half-century, but not before their determined partnership was brought to an end by Jordan Clark (2/66) who forced Peters to edge to Croft, who this time held on to the catch comfortably at second slip at 120/2.
Rob Newton (8) became the first of four Northamptonshire batsman to be caught behind by Alex Davies with Clark collecting his second wicket in an inspired spell, as the all-rounder continued to make good of his opportunity in the first team in the absence of captain Tom Smith.
Northants lost their third wicket for 30 runs when Siddle also had his second success of the day as he accounted for Wakely who fell for 59 before he was also caught behind with the score at 150/4.
Rob Keogh and Andrew Rossington (33*) assembled a sturdy partnership worth 47 runs, but their resistance came to an end when Jarvis (2-26) claimed two wickets in as many deliveries to remove Keogh for 21 and Josh Cobb for a first-ball duck as both batsmen found an edge through to Davies.
In truth, the hosts were made to bat in sub-standard conditions with the light eventually bringing play to a premature close, but Northants can feel aggrieved that the players were not brought off sooner.