Alex Davies' half-century leads Lancashire's recovery
Alex Davies led the recovery for Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford with an unbeaten 78 on day two of their crucial Specsavers County Championship match against Hampshire.
Replying to Hampshire’s first-innings 451, Lancashire closed on 140-3 as Davies posted his highest score of the Division One season so far.
However, Hampshire, boosted by a Rilee Rossouw century, will still be the happier at the halfway stage of a clash between two struggling teams.
With club captain Liam Livingstone on England Lions duty and veteran West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul missing for compassionate reasons, Lancashire’s batting order was far from full strength.
Lancashire got off to a familiar start as they lost an early wicket, with England opener Keaton Jennings gloving Gareth Berg behind for four.
After tea Haseeb Hameed’s off-stump was sent cartwheeling by Fidel Edwards as he departed for 13 early in the evening.
Hameed’s poor run of form continued as the former England opener has now been out three times in a row offering no shot.
Rob Jones followed for just a single, as he too had his off-stump uprooted by Kyle Abbott as the score slipped to 70-3 in the 25th over.
Despite the loss of wickets, wicketkeeper-batsman Davies remained positive by playing some crunching shots all around the ground.
The 23-year-old reached a mature 50 off 87 balls with 10 fours, supported by Dane Vilas, the stand-in captain for Livingstone .
They will aim to continue their unbroken 70-run alliance deep into the third morning.
Earlier, Rossouw crafted his 19th first-class class century as he finished the Hampshire first innings unbeaten on 120 off 189 balls.
Resuming the second day on 302-6 and with Rossouw 54 not out, Ollie Rayner failed to trouble the scorers as Graham Onions had him trapped in front for a 24-ball duck.
The wicket of Rayner gave Onions his second five-wicket haul of the season en route to figures of 5-96.
However, the hosts couldn’t capitalise on the early wicket as they toiled in heightened Manchester temperatures.
A 67-ball 49 from Berg ensured Lancashire’s bowlers felt the burn as the ever-increasing lead grew, while Abbott and Edwards hung around with Rossouw in adding 61 for the last two wickets.