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CURRENT MATCH: Sussex CCC vs Middlesex
Lancashire build lead on day two

Dane Vilas made his first championship century of the season as Lancashire’s batsmen built on their lead over Sussex on the second day of their Division Two game at Emirates Old Trafford. The home side made 494 for six declared, giving them a first-innings lead of 367, before leaving Sussex to face four overs in their second innings.

By the close the visitors were 15 without loss but they face a colossal battle to get more from this game than the one bonus point they have so far gained.   

Vilas was unbeaten on 132, having faced 154 balls and hit 17 fours when he applied the closure. But the Lancashire skipper was only one of five Lancashire batsmen to pass fifty in his side’s innings after a day when Sussex’s bowlers had to work hard for their breakthroughs. Will Beer was the only member of Ben Brown’s attack to finish with more than one wicket and the inadequacy of Sussex’s first-innings total of 127 was mercilessly exposed by the ruthlessness of Lancashire’s batsmen  

The first wicket of the day fell when Keaton Jennings, having added only a dozen runs to his overnight 53 cut Mir Hamza very hard to backward point where Delray Rawlins clutched a brilliant one-handed catch high to his left. Jennings’ departure for 65 was followed five overs later by that of Haseeb Hameed, who was leg before wicket to David Wiese for 11.

However, in the remainder of the morning’s play Glenn Maxwell and Rob Jones played with increasing assurance and their partnership stood at 71 at lunch. Soon after the resumption Maxwell reached his fifty off 74 balls and had made 59, his highest score in first-class cricket since December 2017, when he skied a pull off Abi Sakande and Phil Salt pouched a straightforward catch running back from slip.

Vilas and Jones then put on 94 for the fifth wicket but home supporters were disappointed in the over before tea when the highly rated Jones was bowled by Beer for 88, twelve runs short of his third century in first-class cricket, having faced 169 balls and hit ten boundaries in a high-class innings.

The cricket after tea saw the tiring Sussex attack put to the sword with Vilas reaching his 20th first-class hundred off only 124 balls having hit 13 fours. He put on 123 for the sixth wicket with Steven Croft, whose dismissal for 31, caught by Brown off Beer, prompted the declaration.  The

Sussex seamer Chris Jordan is injured and is unlikely to bowl in the rest of the match, but he appears fit to bat.

After the day's play, Rawlins said: "It was a tough day for the boys. We knew when we turned up today it wouldn’t be easy but we stuck to it pretty well and hopefully we can bat on tomorrow.

"The catch (off Jennings, backward point) was pretty decent. He hit it pretty well but luckily it stuck. I think most people thought it had gone for four. He hit it reasonably well and I think that’s what helped it to stick.

"We all know we haven’t been scoring the runs we want and we probably didn’t adapt as quickly as we wanted to yesterday. They stuck the ball in some pretty decent areas but hopefully the boys can prove a point. You never know what can happen in this great game."