Lancashire promoted after innings victory over Derbyshire inside three days
Lancashire are celebrating promotion to division one of the County Championship with two games yet to play, having sealed victory over Derbyshire by an innings and 45 runs on day three at Old Trafford.
The Red Rose have regained their top-flight status in an unbeaten season which has seen them ruthlessly put away opponents in much the same way Derbyshire were dismissed for 129 in their second innings.The visitors actually enjoyed a profitable morning, taking four wickets as Lancashire progressed to 365-6, a first innings lead of 121.Derbyshire took just a single wicket on day two but once they grabbed the new ball they immediately profited, with Liam Livingstone adding only one run to his overnight 70 before he edged Ravi Rampaul to wicketkeeper Harvey Hosein.Livingstone’s dismissal broke a third-wicket partnership of 199 with Josh Bohannon and he was quickly followed back to the dressing room by Glen Maxwell, out first ball. The Australian played on to Rampaul on his final appearance of the season.Bohannon’s long vigil finally ended soon after, when he edged to Wayne Madsen at first slip off Fynn Hudson-Prentice for a brilliant 174, including 23 fours and two sixes. Rob Jones and Lancashire skipper Dane Vilas proceeded to build a partnership of 67 for the sixth wicket, with the South African reaching 1,000 runs for the season and bringing up his own half-century before he nicked behind off Anuj Dal on the stroke of lunch.The hosts looked to add quick runs after the interval and Tom Bailey progressed nicely to 26 before he was run out by a direct throw from Dal, who then bowled Jones for 37.Matt Parkinson was trapped lbw by Matt Critchley for one before Dal, who finished with 3-60, did the same to Saquib Mahmood (seven) and Lancashire were all out for 418.Bailey got the early breakthrough when he enticed Luis Reece to drive at a wide one and play on for six.Bailey followed up with the prize wicket of first-innings century-maker Billy Godleman, who was lbw for 10 to leave Derbyshire 49-2 at tea, with Wayne Madsen and Leus Du Plooy set to negotiate a tricky evening session.It always looked a big ask for a side with little to play for and with one eye on T20 Blast finals day. Madsen edged Bailey to Livingstone at slip before spin took over and Maxwell accounted for Du Plooy the same way. Critchley became Parkinson’s first victim, trapped in front for one, with Alex Hughes next to go, brilliantly caught by Richard Gleeson at backward square leg for 33 off Maxwell.Derbyshire rolled over, losing their last three wickets for no runs in 11 balls as Fynn Hudson-Prentice was run out, Dal was stumped and Rampaul skied one off Parkinson (left), who finished with 3-28 .Cue the celebrations and a victory march which should see Lancashire claim the Division Two title with just five points needed from two games, the next at home to Middlesex starting Monday.
Lancashire head coach Glen Chapple said: "We have achieved our main aim but obviously we want to win the division and that remains the target.
"We spoke before this game about making sure we were fully committed and we didn't want to take our foot off the gas because we've played so well for so long despite suffering disappointments in the knockout competitions. It was important we reinforced how well the lads have played this year by finishing well.
"The cricket we've played in our opinion has been of a high standard and the commitment the lads have shown throughout the season has been great. It is something we are looking to build on season after season and this performance was full of character.
"Every one likes a scrappy 100 but Josh Bohannon's wasn't one of those - it was brilliant. His timing, the way he went about scoring runs, his running between the wickets was aggressive and the way he put the pressure in the opposition.... it has really paid off and everyone is delighted for him."