Cracking Croft can’t quite win it for Lancs

Steven Croft
Steven Croft
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Lancashire and Warwickshire drew their LV= County Championship Division One encounter at Birmingham despite the best efforts of Blackpool’s Steven Croft’s best efforts with bat and ball.

The visitors opened day four with a lead of 48 and with eight wickets in hand, with Croft’s unbeaten 104 helping pile on enough runs to declare on 322 for seven.

The 29-year-old, who has struggled to force his way back into county’s four-day side, then took centre stage in the Lancashire bowling attack, taking three wickets although Warwickshire survived to close the day on 86 for five and claim a share of the spoils.

Many would have expected the game to end in a draw as Andrea Agathangelou (19) was stumped as Warwickshire set about removing Lancashire to give themselves a catchable total.

Thing continued to go well for the hosts as Simon Kerrigan could only add six before being caught off the bowling of Jeetan Petal before Ashwell Prince (36) and Croft steadied the ship.

Prince went the same way as Agathangelou but Croft was helped along by Jos Buttler (22), Tom Smith (20) and Glen Chapple (34 not out) before a declaration came following Croft’s century.

Warwickshire had around 40 overs to chase down their total of 287 to win but it turned into a survival bid as Croft put in a star turn with the ball.

Opening pair Varun Chopra (29) and William Porterfield (20) did well before the latter was run out and Chopra was bowled by Croft shortly afterwards.

Laurie Evans and Sam Hain were also snared by Croft, the first caught by Paul Horton and Hain trapped lbw for a duck.

Tim Ambrose also failed as he could manage just one run before Kerrigan bowled the hosts’ wicketkeeper.

The game was already heading for a draw at this point and Ateeq Javid and Rikki Clarke remained at the crease unscathed to secure 10 points for Warwickshire, as Lancashire took nine.