Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Emirates Old Trafford (day three)
Lancashire 201 & 127-4: Vilas 60*; Leach 2-15
Worcestershire 172 & 154: Fell 40; Gleeson 5-37
Lancashire (20 pts) beat Worcestershire (3 pts) by six wickets
Lancashire have moved to the summit of the Division Two table in the Specsavers County Championship thanks to a six wicket victory over Worcestershire well inside three days at Emirates Old Trafford.
In the top of the table encounter that ebbed and flowed throughout, Lancashire had the last laugh as they chased the required 126 runs for victory with four and a half sessions remaining in the match.
The result means that it is the first time that Lancashire have won their opening three Championship matches since 1995, when the defeated Durham, Warwickshire and Middlesex.
Worcestershire resumed the day on 149 for nine, with a lead of 120. Joe Leach and Charlie Morris were only able to add five more runs before the Worcestershire captain was caught by James Anderson at mid-off off the bowling of Richard Gleeson.
This was Gleeson’s third five-wicket haul in four innings – as he finished with figures of five for 37.
The small run chase commenced shortly after, but it wasn’t without flaws as Haseeb Hameed was the first man out off the last ball of the second over as he edged a drive off Morris to Riki Wessels at first slip to leave the hosts on 8-1.
Australian Jake Lehmann joined Keaton Jennings and they added 22 together before Lehmann was trapped in front for five.
30 for two soon became 32 for three as Jennings (23) played on to a Leach delivery.
Next ball, Livingstone edged Leach to Wessels in the slip cordon to leave the score on 32 for four.
Dane Vilas (60*) and Rob Jones (31*) battled hard. Vilas reached 50 as they eked towards the target and the pair added an unbeaten 95 for the fifth wicket to seal the win for the Red Rose.
WHAT THEY SAID
After Lancashire’s third win of the season, Rob Jones spoke about how important it is to build momentum during their push for promotion.
“With the batch of games in May, June and July before the T20s we will hope to push on and get as many wins as we can to stay at the top of the table. If we can get wins now it will make it easier later in the season.”
Jones then discussed how good it is to have Dane Vilas in the dressing room.
“He’s brilliant. The way he batted was unbelievable. He strikes the ball outstandingly well and he’s also a great leader of men and he’s been in good touch so far this season.
“The lads have a lot of respect for him and he’s great around the dressing room.” he added.
Lancashire will now focus their attentions on their trip to Cheltenham next week where they take on Gloucestershire. The West Country outfit currently sit third in Division Two having too won inside three days against Durham at Chester-Le-Street.
They will have to watch out for 22-year-old James Bracey who currently averages over 70 with the bat and has scored one century so far this season.
Left-arm seamer, David Payne could cause problems as he has taken 12 wickets in two Championship matches so far in 2019
Picture credit: Lancashire Cricket