Lancashire go top of Div 2

Lancashire go top of Div 2

Keaton Jennings

Lancashire moved to the top of Division Two of the County Championship with a six-wicket win over Worcestershire.

Chasing 126 for victory on a difficult Old Trafford wicket, the Red Rose slumped to 32-4 as Worcestershire sensed an unlikely triumph.

But the pair of Rob Jones and Dane Vilas saw Lancashire home in an unbroken stand of 95 as the hosts recorded their third successive first-class win of the season.

For Worcestershire, it was the first defeat of their campaign, but they remain in a good position themselves to challenge for promotion.

The morning began with Worcestershire looking to grow their slender lead of 120, but they could only add five runs to their overnight score before Joe Leach offered a simple catch to James Anderson at mid-off, giving Richard Gleeson his third five-wicket haul for his new club in just four innings.

A wicket which ended the Pears’ innings on 154, meaning Lancashire required 126 runs for another Championship success.

But their pursuit of the total got off to the worse possible start as Haseeb Hameed edged a Charlie Morris delivery into the hands of Riki Wessels at second slip with just eight runs on the board.

They recovered somewhat to 30-1, but three wickets fell for just two runs to swing the momentum in back in Worcestershire’s favour. First, Jake Lehmann was trapped LBW by Ed Barnard and three overs later Joe Leach struck in successive deliveries.

Keaton Jennings dragged onto his stumps for 23, and very next ball Liam Livingstone offered another catch to Wessels to perish without scoring.

The hosts left reeling at 32-4, but their worries were soon eased by Jones and Vilas.

The pair batted watchfully for the remainder of the morning, clearly eager not to expose the tail and they were helped by a Worcestershire attack without the injured Wayne Parnell, off the field with a hamstring problem.

Following the interval, they played more freely, bringing up their fifty partnership off 117 balls.

Vilas the aggressor, reaching a half-century from just 73 deliveries. The Lancashire captain finished on an unbeaten 60, but it was Jones who hit the winning runs, punching a George Rhodes delivery through the covers as Lancashire’s excellent start to the summer continued.

They head to Cheltenham next week to take on Gloucestershire, while Worcestershire will look to get their promotion push back on track against Middlesex at New Road.

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