Lancs struggle to stave off Roses loss

Horton - uphill struggle

Horton - uphill struggle

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Yorkshire duo Adam Lyth and Adil Rashid claimed a record sixth-wicket stand as Lancashire faced the fight of their lives to avoid defeat in the LV= County Championship Division One Roses match against Yorkshire at Emirates Old Trafford.

Yorkshire duo Adam Lyth and Adil Rashid claimed a record sixth-wicket stand as Lancashire faced the fight of their lives to avoid defeat in the LV= County Championship Division One Roses match against Yorkshire at Emirates Old Trafford.

Having seen their keenest rivals pile up 610 for six declared, thereby establishing a first-innings lead of 332, Lancashire were 144 for two at the close of the third day with Usman Khawaja unbeaten on 69.

However, Glen Chapple’s batsmen will need to produce more of the same if they are to deny their title-chasing rivals and secure a vital five points in their own fight against relegation.

In the morning session Lyth (251) and Rashid (159) scored 130 runs in 32 overs as Yorkshire piled on the suffering for Chapple’s attack.

Yorkshire opener Lyth reached his double century off 347 balls with 20 fours and one six while Rashid got to his second Championship hundred of the season off 169 balls with 14 fours and one maximum.

The sixth-wicket pair treated Lancashire’s bowlers as so much cannon fodder and their only stroke of fortune came when Rashid was dropped by wicketkeeper Alex Davies off Luis Reece when he was on 106.

Records then tumbled early in the afternoon as Lyth and Rashid took their partnership to 296, a sixth-wicket first-class record for Yorkshire, beating the 276 set by Maurice Leyland and Emmott Robinson at Swansea in 1926.

And, by the time Lyth drove Stephen Parry straight to Simon Kerrigan at mid on, he had made a career-best 251 off 446 balls in 11 minutes short of 10 hours and he was only one short of Darren Lehmann’s Roses match record for an individual innings.

Rashid went on to make an unbeaten 159 and Yorkshire’s total of 610 for six declared in 164 overs set yet another record for Roses matches.

Parry ended the innings with three for 109 but this was a day on which Chapple’s bowlers had to be content with keeping their opponents’ run-rate within reasonable bounds.

Faced with having to bat for most of the rest of the game to avoid defeat, Lancashire suffered an early blow when Reece lost his offstump to Ryan Sidebottom when he had made only four.

Undaunted by this reverse, Paul Horton and Khawaja added 81 for the second wicket in 22 overs before Horton’s push off Rashid when the batsman was on 49 took a leading edge and the bowler dived to accept a good low catch.

But Khawaja, playing perhaps his most significant innings for Lancashire since his arrival in June, finished the day on 69 not out and Ashwell Prince was unbeaten on 18, the South African having passed 1,000 Championship runs for the season.

A buoyant Lyth speaking afterwards declared his readiness to play Test cricket if called upon.

“The way I’ve played this season, if I got the call now, I think I’d be ready to step in,” he said.

“I’ve got to wait until I get that phone call, but what I’ve got to do is keep scoring quick runs. I won’t get too carried away with where I am at the moment.

“There’s two more big games in the season and a win tomorrow would be great for us. We’re in a great position, there’s not much for seam bowlers out there, but there’s quite a bit for spin bowling.”

Lancashire opener Paul Horton was still reflecting on a disappointing first innings as his side now face an uphill struggle.

He said: “We were disappointed with our first innings and Yorkshire capitalised on our score. But this afternoon was a good period for us although it was a shame we lost two wickets. Tomorrow is a big day.

“It’s now going to take a few people to stand up and save the game. It’s a very good pitch and has been all game. It’s a dry pitch and there’s a little bit more turn to the left-handed batsmen than to the right but it’s not excessive. It’s been almost like the old type of Old Trafford slab we used to have here.”