Keogh is key man in Northants' charge for victory against Lancashire

Steven Croft scored a season's best 78 for Lancashire at Wantage Road
Steven Croft scored a season's best 78 for Lancashire at Wantage Road

Rob Keogh ensured Northamptonshire will enter the final day against Lancashire with a chance to press for victory at Wantage Road.

Rob Keogh ensured Northamptonshire will enter the final day against Lancashire with a chance to press for victory at Wantage Road.

Keogh made 76 from a tricky position to help Northants close day three 210-6 in their second innings, a lead of 341.

Keogh’s half-century, just his second of the season, was a vital innings after Northants slumped to 14-3 as they looked to build on a first-innings lead of 127.

After a jittery start, Keogh struck seven boundaries in passing 50 in 97 balls and was helping his side make serene progress after tea before being run-out, called through for a single by Adam Rossington after nudging Stephen Parry to the right of short-midwicket. Haseeb Hameed dived to his right and threw at the non-striker’s end. Parry had the bails off before Keogh’s dive.

Keogh and Rossington added 54 in 8.3 overs. Rossington pulled Richard Gleeson over deep square for six in reaching 33 from 30 balls before losing his off-stump to Parry

Luke Procter and Brett Hutton made far more sedate progress to the close but swelled the lead with the help of a seven – Hutton’s edge to third man for three followed four overthrows. It left Northants pondering an overnight declaration.

Lancashire had mounted a fightback after lunch, taking three wickets inside five overs. Graham Onions swung a ball into the left-handed Ricardo Vasconcelos and nipped one back to Richard Levi to win to lbws before Temba Bavuma drove Gleeson to point.

But with Saqib Mahmood not taking the field, the change bowling posed a significantly lesser threat and Keogh set out making a smart recovery with Rob Newton, sharing a calming stand of 96 for the fourth wicket before Newton fell for 48, edging Gleeson to wicketkeeper Dane Vilas.

After a frustrating first hour, Northants had dismantled the Lancashire lower order, taking 5-25 with the second new ball.

Alex Davies and Steven Croft extended their fifth-wicket partnership to 135 and Davies went past his previous first-class best of 140 but was held at short-midwicket by Bavuma off Keogh for 147.

Croft was pinned lbw by Ben Sanderson for a season’s best 78 and the innings fizzled out as Northants seized control.