An unbeaten century by skipper Dane Vilas helped secure a first-innings lead for Lancashire on the second day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match against Sussex at Emirates Old Trafford and the home side go into the second half of the game with five wickets in hand and the opportunity to build a match-winning advantage.
Replying to Sussex’s 301 all out, Lancashire were 339 for five at close of play with Vilas on 158 not out and Luke Wood unbeaten on 27. The most successful Sussex bowler was Ollie Robinson, who ended the day with two for 51, while Sean Hunt, on first-class debut, impressed with his disciplined line and length.
Vilas had earlier shared partnerships of 91 with Alex Davies and 125 with Rob Jones but was also given a life on 47 when George Garton failed to cling on to a diving catch at slip off Jack Carson.
However, the prosperity Lancashire enjoyed late in the evening session was a far cry from their earlier travails when they had struggled to 52 for three at lunch with England prospect Robinson taking two of the wickets. Extracting plenty of bounce and movement from the Old Trafford pitch in an eight-over spell, Robinson had Keaton Jennings taken at slip by Aaron Thomason for four and Josh Bohannon caught behind by Ben Brown for 10.
☝️ @George_Garton— Sussex Cricket (@SussexCCC) April 9, 2021
Our wickets from this morning's session! Safe hands from Aaron Thomason for the first and of course @Ben_Brown26 for the second and third! 🧤 pic.twitter.com/hFwVOOrUcU
Sussex’s morning got even better when Steven Croft gloved an attempted pull off Garton to Brown and departed for three but Vilas and Davies took their side to lunch and had extended their partnership to 91, largely through a flurry of boundaries, before Davies was pinned on the back foot for 61 by Hunt to become the left-arm seamer’s maiden first-class victim.
That was Sussex’s only success of the afternoon session although off spinner Carson would have dismissed Davies for 31 had he held on to a fierce return catch and the same bowler also had Vilas dropped. As it was Carson’s first eight overs cost 50 runs, although he later had Rob Jones caught at backward point by Tom Clark for 58.
Having reached his century off 136 balls, Vilas took only another 53 deliveries to reach his 150 and the Sussex seamers came in for some dismissive treatment when they took the second new ball.
At the close, Sean Hunt said, "I was surprised but also delighted to make my first-class debut at Old Trafford. That was a nice touch. It’s gone okay so far. It was very nice to get that third batting bonus point with Stuart Meaker but there were a few nerves when I was facing Saqib Mahmood.
"I didn’t know I was going to take the new ball but it shows that Ben backs me to take early wickets, which unfortunately I didn’t, but I thought I did alright with it. Then I came back and took my wicket and I was very happy with that. I hope it’s the first of many."
Reflecting on his innings and his side's position, Dane Vilas said, "That’s all we could have wanted. We set ourselves to bat the whole day and that’s what we managed to do. I was looking for that punched drive for two to get to my hundred and it was a great feeling to see it go past the fielder.
"I’ve felt really good in the practice games but there’s nothing like getting runs in the middle in a competitive match. We have some hard work to do in the morning but we are looking forward to that.
"We all know how difficult it is to start, especially against a good bowling line-up like this, so there’s no better feeling than when you’re hitting the ball in the middle of the bat as I was today."
Sussex Cricket is delighted to announce that batter Ali Orr has signed a multi-year contract extension with the club.
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