Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Safety First for Lancs as They Bat for a Draw ; Coach Defends Choice to Stay Put at the Crease Cross and Croft Both Score Tons in Stalemate

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Safety First for Lancs as They Bat for a Draw ; Coach Defends Choice to Stay Put at the Crease Cross and Croft Both Score Tons in Stalemate

Article excerpt

LANCASHIRE coach Peter Moores revealed the pitch was behind their thinking when deciding not to declare to chase a third LV= County Championship victory of the season during yesterday's final day against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl. The Red Rose batted through the whole of day four to advance their second innings from 63-3 to 373- 6, only declaring when the players shook hands at 5pm after both Gareth Cross and Steven Croft (pictured) scored centuries. Lancashire took eight points from their fifth outing of the season, and they moved up to joint second in the Division Two table ahead of Wednesday's clash with Gloucestershire at Liverpool.

It was completely understandable that Moores and Glen Chapple, who took four wickets in six balls in Hampshire's first innings of 258 during Saturday's third day, wanted to make the game completely safe against one of their fellow promotion contenders. But with a lead of 283 with 42 overs left, there were many who expected Lancashire to at least roll the dice with little chance of losing out. After all, Chapple had shown on Saturday that wickets could fall quickly as his 37th fivewicket haul moved him to 899 first- class career wickets. But Moores believed it would have been difficult to bowl Hampshire out in 40 overs. "With the way the pitch was, you'd fancy chasing 250 in 40 on that like we saw in the one- day game here on Wednesday," said Moores, who was as frustrated as anybody that 88 overs were lost due to rain on days one and two. "They'd have been thinking all the way through 'if we just can nick them out, we'll have a go'. We knew that as well. "We'd have loved to have had a crack at them, but it wasn't the sort of pitch on which you were going to bowl a side out in 40 overs. "They would have nothing to lose because the pitch is good enough that if they had lost two or three wickets quickly, they could have blocked it out. …

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