Ashwell Prince scored 153 as he helped Lancashire to a commanding first innings total of 436 against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
The South-African left-handed batsman has now batted for a total of 13 hours and 24 minutes, scoring 410 runs since he was last dismissed by Northants, who closed on 42/2, still trailing Lancashire by nine runs.
Prince and Peter Siddle (89) shared exactly 100 runs for the seventh-wicket and Lancashire’s Australian import then added a further 77 runs with Tom Bailey (34), who recorded his highest first-class score to help guide the visitors to their full allocation of bonus points in a match which is almost certainly going to end in a draw, with rain likely to wash-out the entire final day.
The third day started with a potential 83 overs after overnight rain had given the groundstaff plenty to think about, but once they had cleaned up it was the wind which became the real issue. After a few balls had gone the umpires became tired of having to stop play in order to put the bails back on the stumps every time they had fallen off and so the players agreed to carry on without them for the rest of the day.
Rory Kleinveldt had claimed wickets in successive overs at the start of Lancashire’s innings and he repeated this feat – claiming two wickets in six balls – when he had overnight batsman Alex Davies (37) caught by Steven Crook for what proved to be his lowest score of the season so far.
Kleinveldt, who went on to finish with figures of five for 99, then had Jordan Clark caught behind for no score as Lancashire found themselves 221/6 with a long way to go before reaching 400, a score they had hoped to reach in order to achieve maximum value out of what is likely to be a dead rubber.
Overnight centurion Prince played an assured hand with Siddle as the pair added 50 runs in no time at all to take Lancashire to their second batting point in the extended afternoon session. The visitors soon made it to 300 as Prince approached 150, surpassing his previous highest score for Lancashire this season of 106 which he scored against Kent last week.
This was by no means Prince’s best score against Northants, however, and he continued to frustrate the home side with his wealth of experience alongside the very useful ‘tail-ender’ Siddle, who went on to push for a century of his own. Prince reached 150 in 208 balls with his 21st four taking him to this milestone as he and Siddle soon reached the hundred-partnership.
Having batted for over 13 hours since he was last dismissed by Northants, Prince’s masterclass was ended in tame fashion when he hit the ball straight to substitute fielder David Murphy in the covers, handing Steven Crook (1/89) his first and only breakthrough of the innings.
Prince’s average of 70.7 in his last 16 Championship innings have seen a reward to 1,060 runs for Lancashire, who would certainly not have got their full allocation of batting bonus pointw without him, nor would they have reached 400 without Siddle and Bailey’s partnership worth 77 runs, a stand which rubbed salt into the already gaping wounds of the Northants bowlers.
The pair saw Lancashire to a tea time score of 377/7, by which time Siddle had recorded his first half-century for the Red Rose, reaching this milestone in 95 deliveries with seven boundaries. The 50 partnership, which also came just before the interval, also signalled a new career-best score for Bailey, who continues to be a more than useful lower-order batsman for Lancashire.
Lancashire went into the lead after the break, but soon lost Bailey when he was bowled by Josh Cobb (1/41). Simon Kerrigan then made an eye-catching 21 which included a towering six over long-on, although Siddle’s contribution started to slow down as he approached three figures.
Kerrigan and Siddle added another 29 runs taking Lancashire to 400 although the loss of Kerrigan to Mohammad Azharullah (3/104) gave Northants their third and final bowling point.
All that was left was to see if Siddle would in fact reach a century to go alongside his tidy spell with the ball, but the Australian handed Kleinveldt a five-wicket-haul when he was trapped lbw for 89, as Lancashire finished all out for 436.
Jarvis’s innings of six not out makes him the only Lancashire batsman to have not got out yet this season and the Zimbabwean fast-bowler claimed his 18th wicket of the season when he had Rob Newton (0) caught by Alviro Petersen, with Northants losing a wicket before they had got off the mark in their second innings.
A first innings lead of 51 runs could have been useful if Lancashire had been able to rip through the Northamptonshire top order and the dismissal of captain Alex Wakely (2) opened the door to a potential scare for the hosts when Siddle responded to his contribution with the bat by claiming his 11th wicket for Lancashire this season with Northants stumbling to 19/2.
Stephen Peters (19*) and Rob Keogh (14*) ensured that Northants reached close of play without suffering anymore casualties and with rain likely to be a permanent fixture tomorrow the draw is strong possibility.