Hampshire recover against Lancashire on a day for bowlers
COUNTY Championship leaders Hampshire were bowled out for 143 but fought back with the ball against title rivals Lancashire on day one at Aigburth.
The hosts elected to bowl, with George Balderson ripping through Hampshire’s top order during an excellent spell.
Hants were 71-6 shortly after lunch but Mason Crane (25) and Felix Organ (22) dug deep to get them to 143 all out.
Mohammad Abbas then removed both Lancashire openers as Red Rose struggled to 25-3 at the close of play.
Hampshire started the final round of games three-and-a-half points clear of second-placed Warwickshire and a further half a point ahead of Lancashire, who have moved to within two points of the leaders – thanks to their three bowling points – as things stand.
When Tom Bailey struck in the third over for Lancashire, Ian Holland pushing one forward to short leg, the signs were ominous for the batsmen and so it proved, with all-rounder Balderson’s spell of 3-8 putting Hampshire under the pump as they reached lunch on 64-4.
Luck was not on the visitors’ side either, as Bailey then deflected a fine James Vince drive onto the stumps at the bowler’s end where Liam Dawson was run-out just short of his ground after backing up.
Vince himself edged behind four balls later and though the Hampshire tail offered resistance, England leg-spinner Matt Parkinson picked up three wickets to polish them off and ensure they picked up no batting points.
However, Hampshire got the start they needed with the ball, Abbas removing the off bail of Alex Davies before Keith Barker trapped Luke Wells lbw for a duck.
Abbas then had Balderson caught behind, leaving nightwatchman Jack Blatherwick and Josh Bohannon at the crease for Lancashire going into day two, trailing by 118 runs on a day where the ball was definitely the winner. (BBC Sport)