James Vince gives Hampshire a real shot at the County Championship title with a 160 lead over Lancashire after 14 wickets fell on day two in the exciting final of the season
- James Vince hit crucial 69 to establish a 160-run lead for Hampshire on day two
- The English batsman was the first to tame the lively field at Aigburth in Liverpool
- Lancashire was thrown out for 141, trailing two runs in the first innings
- But Hampshire was then reduced to 78 for five before Vince stabilized things
- Both remain in the hunt for the title in a thrilling County Championship climax
- Warwickshire remains in the fray after Danny Briggs . brilliance
James Vince fulfilled an ambition that was beyond him when he made his first England 100 earlier this summer.
On Wednesday he took a big step towards the next with a potentially decisive contribution to the championship for Hampshire.
Vince became the first batter to properly tame the lively Aigburth field on another riveting, tumultuous day in Liverpool, as Hampshire and Lancashire battled it out for pole position in the race for the title win each.
James Vince made a potentially title-winning 69 knockout for Hampshire against Lancashire
Lancashire’s Tom Bailey celebrates a wicket but Hampshire has a 160-point lead after day two
One eye remains on Edgbaston here where, thanks to Hampshire, old boy Danny Briggs, Warwickshire will take the title by the narrowest margins if they take full bowling points and then beat Somerset.
But if Somerset can earn a draw, what remains the most important prize in domestic cricket will go to whoever comes out on top in this eventful, low-score match in the most charming outdoor area.
Vince made Hampshire pretty much the favorites going into the third day of what would be only their third championship title and the first since 1973 by hitting the next level for everyone here.
He can still regularly flirt with calamity off the stump – and got a life at 18 when Danny Lamb spilled a tough caught and bowled opportunity – but Vince kept up just the right pace, hitting 69 in Hampshire’s 158 for seven to take a ahead of 160 to earn .
Bailey celebrates taking Ian Holland’s wicket as both teams remain in the title photo
Not only did it save his side from the depths of 78 for five, but saw Lancashire have to score the highest score of the match on a club surface where the new ball has proved almost unplayable, but where scoring gets easier the longer the day goes on. .
It wasn’t until Matt Parkinson got a late lbw decision from umpire Peter Hartley with Vince firmly on the front foot and when Tom Bailey found his way through Liam Dawson that Lancashire gave herself hope for what will be a thrilling chase today.
Hampshire previously appeared to be in full control as Lancashire crashed to 47 for seven in response to 143, Mohammad Abbas’ floaty prowess and Lancastrian Keith Barker’s bubbly power proving a potent seam combination.
Mason Crane of Hampshire is bowled by Bailey, but Vince led the kickback from early wickets
But Steven Croft, dropped by Vince at six, Luke Wood and Bailey all benefited from the easing of conditions – local sage David Lloyd says it’s always been harder to fight Liverpool in the morning when the tide is off Mersey – to drag Lancashire in two runs of parity.
Wickets quickly tumbled again as Hampshire struck for the second time – Bailey took four out of five to fall cheaply – but Hampshire captain Vince, who made that England ODI century as a late call-up against Pakistan, added 80 with Dawson for the sixth wicket.
It could still be decisive in what has become a thrilling climax to the championship season.
The picturesque Aigburth site in Liverpool attracted many spectators on Wednesday